Britain is “unlikely” to be given the chance to remain in the single market after it leaves the European Union, according to a Brexit memo carried by senior Conservative officials in Downing Street.
The note says that the Government suggests that Britain is “loath” to introduce “transitional” controls after it leaves the EU which would give the City access to the single market for a limited period.
It suggests that the Government’s position is to “have cake and eat it” but there are concerns that it could be undermined by the “difficult” French negotiating team.
The document was carried by the an aide to Mark Field, the vice chairman of the Conservative Party, after a meeting at the Department for Exiting the European Union. The aide – Mr Field’s chief of staff – was photographed carrying the note as she left the meeting.
The document states that the “implementation” of Article 50, which will formally trigger Brexit negotiations, is likely to be “difficult”.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, “wants to see what deal looks like first” but the memo suggests that Britain “won’t provide more detail”.
It says that a deal on manufacturing is “relatively straightforward” but an agreement on services, which includes the financial sector, is likely to be more “harder”.
It says that Britain is likely to pursue a “Canada plus” trade deal with the European Union, adding that remaining a member of the European Economic Area would be “not good”.
The memo states: “Difficult on Article 50 implementation – Barnier wants to see what deal looks like first.
“Got to be done in parallel – 20 odd negotiations. Keep the two years. Won’t provide more detail.
“We think it’s unlikely we’ll be offered Single Market. Manufacturing relatively straightfoward.
“Transitional – loath to do it. Whitehall will hold onto it. We need to bring an end to negotiations.”
The document appears to reflect a discussion about the prospect of a Norway trade deal, which is a member of the European Economic Area.
It says: “Why no Norway – two elements – no ECJ intervention. Unlikely to do internal market.”