'Have cake and eat it' - Tory aide's note offers insight into gov't Brexit thinking

'Have cake and eat it' - Tory aide's note offers insight into gov't Brexit thinkingThe UK government's Brexit negotiating strategy is to 'have cake and eat it', handwritten notes by an aide to Conservative MP Mark Field.

Pictures taken yesterday as four MPs, including Field, left the Department for Exiting the EU showed notes written by Field's chief of staff Julia Dockerill.

The government has so far been unwilling to reveal its negotiating stance on Brexit. The photographs of the notes therefore offer a previously unseen insight into the government's stance.

The notes reveal doubts about the UK's ability to get access to the single market after leaving the EU - they state 'no Norway', suggesting a model whereby the UK retains membership of the European Economic Area is unlikely. Instead a 'Canada-lite' deal may be possible, the notes suggest.

At one point the page of notes state 'what's the model? Have cake and eat it', in what appears to be a reference to Theresa May's pledge to get the best possible deal for the UK.

The notes also suggest the government is 'loathe to do' a transitional agreement which would give businesses more time to sort their affairs out before the UK left the EU.

Earlier this week Bank of England governor Mark Carney encouraged such a deal to ease the pressure on businesses.

However, the government has hit back at the widespread coverage of the notes.

A government spokesman played down the significance of the notes in a statement issued last night, the Times reports.

'These individual notes do not belong to a government official or a special adviser. They do not reflect the government’s position in relation to Brexit negotiations,' he said.
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