Brexit deal not 'back door' to staying in EU: Ministers

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"We've been crystal clear that issues around our withdrawal and our future partnership are inextricably linked", a source in Britain's Brexit department said.

But in a show of strength after a summer dominated by cabinet splits, Chancellor Philip Hammond and International Development Secretary Liam Fox announced there will be a transitional period when Britain finally leaves the UK.

Brexit Minister David Davis (L) and EU Chief Negotiator in charge of Brexit negotiations Michel Barnier seen at a press conference at the EU Commission Headquarters in Brussels, on July 20, 2017.

They will start with one covering the thorny issues of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic to be followed in the autumn by a second series looking at the future relationship with the European Union, including post-Brexit customs arrangements.

A source close to Mr Davis said the papers would highlight the British teams were "on the front foot" in the negotiations.

The Government will hope the position papers will convince the EU Commission that it does have a coherent plan, when the exit talks resume at the end of this month.

In July, EU officials said progress was hard not because Britain had unacceptable demands, but because it had no position at all on many issues.

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A British paper focused on "issues unique to Northern Ireland and Ireland" is expected ahead of the talks, but no further details of the proposal were provided on Sunday. The Brexit department declined to comment on the story.

Foreign minister under a Labour government between 2007 and 2010, called Brexit an "unparalleled act of economic self-harm" and said there should be another public vote once the final terms of Britain's exit are known.

The government says it hopes to persuade the 27 other European Union nations to start negotiating a "deep and special" future relationship that would include a free trade deal between Britain and the EU. The first will be a proposal for new customs arrangements.

Eager to push talks past the opening divorce issues and on to the future trading and legal ties to the bloc, Britain also promised a series of "Future Partnership" papers in the run-up to October's European Council.

But in a joint article for The Sunday Telegraph, they agreed that any transition would be "time limited" and that Brexit would mean the United Kingdom pulling out of both the EU single market and the customs union.

Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered the Brexit process on March 29 and divorce negotiations officially began on June 19.

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