EU's Juncker: Good for Britain if I was prime minister

EU's Juncker: Good for Britain if I was prime minister

The EU says Britain can not have a selective access to its single market or customs union, saying the more rights it will have vis-a-vis the bloc in the future, the more obligations it must accept as well.

The PM cleared the way for the speech by securing agreement from senior ministers in her so-called "war cabinet" at Chequers on Thursday on key features of the future relationship.

The move presents an increased danger to the Prime Minister because Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said the opposition now backed a customs union that would look "pretty much like" the current one after withdrawal.

Meanwhile, EU migrants who arrive in the United Kingdom during any transition period will be allowed to stay permanently, The Times has reported.

May is under pressure to set out more details of her position before talks get underway on the future partnership in April, with Brussels warning Britain can not have everything it wants.

"I'm clear there is a difference between those who came prior to us leaving and those who will come when they know the United Kingdom is leaving", she told journalists in January. "It has to be got right", Conservative lawmaker David Jones, a former junior Brexit minister, told Reuters.

The EU will not agree to the kind of "managed divergence" Britain is believed to favour in its future relationship, sources in Brussels said on Thursday.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also to unveil a competing vision of how Brexit should work in what is being billed as a significant address on Monday, after some backbenchers called for more clarity from the leadership.

The prime minister has pledged to leave the EU's single market and customs union, as she seeks to end free movement of migrants and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. In January a year ago, in a key speech at Lancaster House, Prime Minister May outlined the central tenets of the government's exit strategy which included leaving the customs union.

Earlier this week, 62 pro-Brexit Tory backbenchers belonging to the eurosceptic European Research Group sent a letter to Prime Minister May, uring her not to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU after it has left.

The full cabinet will discuss the plans at their regular weekly meeting on Tuesday.

The president of the European Commission was arriving at a summit of the remaining EU member states in Brussels when he was asked if he had been told about the outcome of yesterday's crunch Cabinet meeting.

This is because the United Kingdom government fears it now does not have the Commons majority to avoid a defeat which would inflict considerable damage to May's authority and jeopardise Brexit negotiations with the EU.

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