May and Corbyn to set out competing views of Brexit negotiations

Theresa May will promise business leaders a Brexit transition period with existing rules, when she and Jeremy Corbyn outline their competing visions on Monday of how they would minimise the economic uncertainty of leaving the EU.

The prime minister and the Labour leader are due to address the CBI conference in London on Monday, with speeches focusing on Brexit and the wider economic picture.

May is expected to hail recent progress in negotiations with the EU and reiterate her desire for a transition period that would guarantee continuity for businesses and investment.

“I have made clear that a strictly time-limited implementation period will be crucial to our future success,” May will say, according to extracts of her speech released in advance by Downing Street.

“I know how important it is for business and industry not to face a cliff-edge and to have the time it needs to plan and prepare for the new arrangements.

“During this period, our access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms and I want us to agree the detailed arrangements for this period as early as possible.”

The government’s overall ambition, the PM is to say, is “to forge an ambitious economic partnership, out of the single market but with a new balance of rights and responsibilities between us and the European Union … w e should be excited by the possibilities which this new relationship presents for the future, just as we are realistic in acknowledging that it will take time to finalise.”

She will also address the allegations of sexual misconduct hitting Westminster saying: We need to establish a new culture of respect at the centre of our public life.

“One in which everyone can feel confident that they are working in a safe and secure environment, where complaints can be brought forward without prejudice and victims know that those complaints will be investigated properly.

“And where people’s careers cannot be damaged by unfounded rumours circulated anonymously online.”

Corbyn’s speech will highlight what he says will be the risk of the government delaying any transition deal until a final deal with the EU is agreed.

Such a scenario “is simply not good enough”, Corbyn will say, setting out ”the common ground” between Labour’s position on Brexit and that of business groups.

“The prospect of sudden changes in the legal and regulatory environment in which people do business is affecting your decisions right now,” he will say, according to sections of the speech released by Labour.

“Watching chaos and confusion grow at the heart of government and Brexit negotiations stuck in a stalemate, many of you probably feel that the situation is more uncertain and more precarious than ever. Time is running out.”

May is facing increasing pressure from the CBI and others over uncertainty ahead of the 2019 departure date.

Speaking before the CBI conference, its director, Paul Drechsler, said there was “exasperation” at the lack of progress and criticised May for still having not held a full cabinet discussion on the final Brexit deal.

“I couldn’t believe that any team of people would take on a mission of this scale without considering it in detail in terms of the pros, cons, costs and benefits – nobody could embark on the biggest deal of their life without considering it in the boardroom,” he said.

Corbyn plans to use his speech to reiterate Labour’s opposition to a no-deal departure from the EU, one he called “potentially a nightmare scenario” for business and more widely.

“The fact that some in the cabinet want ‘no deal’ to re-launch Britain as a race-to-the-bottom deregulated tax haven on the shores of Europe, only adds to the risks,” he will say.

Powered by article was written by Peter Walker Political correspondent, for on Monday 6th November 2017 00.01 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010