Theresa May hints at possible interim Brexit deal with the EU during CBI speech

Prime Minister Theresa May appeared before business leaders at the CBI 2016 Annual Conference, where she laid out her vision for UK business.

The Prime Minister acknowledged business fears of Brexit, but said that firms would benefit from global trade opportunities after leaving the EU.

During her speech, May hinted at a possible interim Brexit deal with the EU as part of the country’s exit negotiations. Business lobby groups in the UK have been pushing for a transitional deal to cover the period between when the UK leaves the EU and when a new free trade agreement comes into effect – which could be several years later.

When asked about a transitional deal for UK businesses, May said: “Obviously as we look at the negotiation we want to get the arrangement that is going to work best for the UK and the arrangement that is going to be best for business in the UK.”

“And I’m conscious that there will be issues that need to be looked at … People don’t want a cliff-edge; they want to know with some certainty how things are going to go,” she added.

According to the BBC, Downing Street did not confirm whether Mrs May’s comments about avoiding a “cliff-edge” means she’s looking to secure a transitional deal to cover the period between when Britain leaves the bloc and the start of a new trade deal.

“She was reflecting the views we have expressed already about how we secure the best deal for the UK and how we seek to provide certainty where we can to businesses and people across the UK of the steps moving forward,” the PM’s official spokeswoman was quoted by the BBC as saying.

CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn said: “With only two years for such a complex negotiation, the Government rightly has on its radar that we should seek a smooth transition which gives firms time to adapt.”