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PM hints UK 'will leave CAP in March 2019'

Theresa May says she wants to ditch Common Agricultural Policy during, and not after, post-Brexit transitional period

PM hints UK 'will leave CAP in March 2019'

Theresa May
Photo: Home Office

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Theresa May has hinted the UK may break away from the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries policy during the post-Brexit transition period.

Brussels has made it clear it would prefer the UK to maintain its current relationship with the EU during the two-year transition period after Brexit, iNews reported.

But the Prime Minister surprised MPs on 18 December when she said: “We will be leaving the European Union on March 29 2019. We will therefore be leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy at that date.

“The relationship we have on both those issues continuing through the implementation period with the European Union will be part of the negotiation of that period, which will start very soon.”

She added: “Leaving the CFP and leaving the CAP gives us the opportunity to actually introduce arrangements that work for the United Kingdom.”

According to iNews, Whitehall sources questioned the significance of May’s comments, saying the UK would formally leave the EU’s institutions in 2019 but did not want to disrupt business during the transitional period.

Her comments follow guarantees from Chancellor Philip Hammond in August 2016 that the current level of funding under CAP Pillar 1 will be maintained until 2020, as part of the transition to new domestic funding arrangements.

But the Prime Minister was in a bullish mood in the Commons on Monday, insisting that Britain also wants a ‘bespoke’ trade deal from the EU that guarantees the current level of market access, The Daily Mail reported.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said there was “no way” this would happen.

As the Brexit talks move to their second stage, which will cover trade and transition, he warned that the most difficult part of the negotiations was now beginning.

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