October 23, 2018 / 10:38 PM / 25 days ago

May's Brexit transition plan could last for years - London Times

(Reuters) - UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan could leave Britain in a “long running” multiyear transition period, the London Times reported on Wednesday citing leaked documents seen by the newspaper.

According to the leaked documents, the plan “could in theory, lead to a long running IP (implementation period)” and the arrangement could last for many years on a “rolling” basis with an “annual decision point” where any transition extension is reviewed, the Times reported.

The documents were drawn up by May’s principal Europe adviser, Oliver Robbins, on instructions from May’s office, according to the report.

The documents reveal that cabinet ministers have been presented with different models to work out what would happen if a trade deal to govern UK’s future relationship with the EU was not reached by the end of the transition period, the Times said.

With just over five months until Britain is scheduled to leave the EU, Brexit talks have stalled over a disagreement on the so-called Northern Irish “backstop”, an insurance policy to ensure there will be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland if a future trading relationship is not agreed in time.

May again failed to clinch a deal at an EU summit last week and her decision to signal the possibility of extending a post-Brexit transition period, keeping Britain under EU governance with no say in it, to help end the deadlock, has angered both hardline supporters of Brexit and pro-EU lawmakers.

Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru

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