Britain will completely pull out of the EU market and the customs union after Brexit, with no 'back door' option to remain, two opposing Cabinet members have pledged.
After a summer of cabinet feuding, Chancellor Philip Hammond, who favours a 'softer' pro-business Brexit, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, a hardline Brexiteer, appear to have put the differences aside and agree there should not be a 'cliff-edge' break when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.
But in a joint article for The Sunday Telegraph, they agreed that any transition would be 'time limited' and that Brexit would mean the UK pulling out of both the EU single market and the customs union.
No back door: Chancellor Philip Hammond (left), who favours a 'softer' Brexit and hardliner Liam Fox (right) agree that the UK will pull out of both the EU single market and customs union
'We want our economy to remain strong and vibrant through this period of change. That means businesses need to have confidence that there will not be a cliff-edge when we leave the EU in just over 20 months' time,' they wrote.
'That is why we believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty - but it cannot be indefinite; it cannot be a back door to staying in the EU.
'We are both clear that during this period the UK will be outside the customs union and will be a 'third country', not a party to EU treaties.'
Prime Minister Theresa May will hope the intervention of the two ministers will cool temperatures in the Tory ranks amid divisions over Brexit and speculation of a possible leadership challenge when MPs return to Westminster in September.
From this week, the Government will start publishing a new series of detailed papers setting out its negotiating position on a range of key issues, amid criticism from Brussels of a lack of clarity about what it wants from the talks.
Theresa May will hope the intervention of the two minsters will quieten divisions over Brexit
They will start with one covering the thorny issues of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic to be followed in the autumn