Switzerland and United Kingdom complete post-Brexit trade deal

The UK parliament last month roundly rejected a Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May had sealed with the remaining 27 EU leaders

The UK parliament last month roundly rejected a Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May had sealed with the remaining 27 EU leaders

In a reply to Corbyn published by May's office late on Sunday, she rejected the idea of a customs union, saying Britain must be able to strike its own trade deals after Brexit.

The trade between the two countries is reckoned to be worth more than £32bn per year, making this the biggest agreement signed since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

"I think it must be pretty obvious that if you are going to have a time limit to the backstop, and I think that would be a very good thing, it's got to fall before the next election".

Mr Barclay will later travel to Brussels for talks over dinner with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

"I don't think that there is any mileage for the Prime Minister or the Government in trying to do a deal with Labour because they will just try to trap Theresa May", he said at a launch event at Westminster.

"I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future European Union trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deal?"

She also questioned whether the call for completely "frictionless" trade would mean reneging on Labour's commitment to end free movement by requiring single market membership.

"We never pushed for Brexit, we never demanded Brexit", Bettel said.

The Prime Minister has previously ruled out a customs union, which would restrict the UK's ability to strike trade deals, and could face Cabinet resignations if she changed her position.

The PM had been expected to deliver her statement on Wednesday ahead of a Commons debate on Thursday, but her official spokesman said the earlier timing would "give Parliament a couple of days to digest the content".

"I absolutely do not think that should be our policy", she told Sky News on Sunday. "Mrs May also said the Tories were "prepared to commit" to new laws to protect workers" rights after Brexit - a key demand of Labour and the unions. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, these would need to be completed by 29 March, an ambition that many in British business now believe to be nearly impossible.

May wants to win over lawmakers in her Conservative Party with changes relating to the Northern Irish border, but the EU has refused to reopen that part of the deal and instead wants May to pursue a compromise with the main opposition Labour Party by agreeing closer UK-EU ties.

There appears little prospect of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels, and Mrs May might not bring her deal back for a decisive vote this month.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29, but lawmakers in Parliament have emphatically rejected Mrs May's divorce deal, raising the prospect of a no-deal exit from the bloc unless more parliamentary support is found.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said Sunday that parliament would get another chance to pass judgment on May's Brexit plan "by no later than February 27".

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