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LONDON Dec 14 Britain wants a smooth exit from
the European Union and will do what it is necessary to give
businesses maximum access to the bloc's market with minimum
disruption, Brexit minister David Davis said on Wednesday.
Davis also said his previous comments that Britain would
consider paying into the EU in return for market access had been
"slightly over-interpreted", and that the government was simply
not ruling anything out or in yet.
Businesses and investors have raised concerns that Britain
faces a "cliff-edge" after the Brexit negotiation period and on
Monday finance minister Philip Hammond backed the idea of a
transition period to smooth the process.
Asked about Hammond's comments, Davis, who has been reported
to be less keen on a transitional deal, said: "What we are after
is a smooth and orderly exit. That is the overarching aim."
"Within that box we want to get the maximum market access
for British companies with the minimum of disruption so we will
do what is necessary to that aim," he told a committee of
He said Britain needed to know what the "end game" was
before it decided on the transition, but if it was necessary
there could be an "implementation phase".
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she plans to begin
formal exit negotiations with the EU by the end of March and
Davis said the government would do this earlier if it could.
Work is still underway to prepare for the negotiations
however and there were still "quite a few" decisions to be made,
he said, adding that the government would not be ready to
publish its Brexit plans next month.
He also said he did not know whether Britain could halt the
process of leaving the EU once it had begun, but it had no
intention of trying to do so.
Davis said he did not think it would be possible to hammer
out an adequate deal with the EU in as little as six months, but
that an agreement could be reached on both Britain's exit and
future EU relationship within the two-year negotiating period
set out under Article 50.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Kylie MacLellan and Andy Bruce;
Editing by Stephen Addison)