Hammond: UK could reject any Brexit deal excluding financial services

Ireland will come first in negotiations over Brexit and the EU-UK long term relationship, European Council president Donald Tusk said Thursday, while insisting it is not up to the UK to define the EU's interests. "In fact, this will be the first FTA in history that loosens economic ties, instead of strengthening them", the former Polish premier added.

Global trade secretary Liam Fox has urged Brexit negotiators to "keep the temperature down" as talks enter the critical future relationship phase. The second proposal is for a "highly streamlined customs arrangement, where [the United Kingdom and the EU] would jointly agree to implement a range of measures to minimise frictions to trade, together with specific provisions for Northern Ireland".

A free trade deal is likely to lead to cross-border customs and environmental health standard border checks on EU-UK trade being introduced, which is predominately carried on roll-on roll-off ferry port routes.

Hammond had said that it was "hard to see how any deal that did not include services could look like a fair and balanced settlement".

In his starkest warning yet the powerful Eurocrat said without fresh thinking from London the Brexit talks will stall - and said: "Ireland first".

Hammond will argue that Brussels originally aimed to include financial services in a free trade deal with Canada which in the end failed to provide much new access for banks.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said discussions over future trade deals were "clearly important" but the priority for firms now was getting clarity about the immediate future with the European Union after Brexit day.

The Investment Association said protecting the ability of asset managers in Britain to serve EU-based clients was critical to avoid disruption to Europe's economy and to protect the integrity of the wider financial services industry in the UK.

He expects Britain and the European Union to agree a transition deal later this month to bridge a gap between Brexit Day on March 29 next year, and new trading relations from January 2021.

I want the broadest and deepest possible agreement-covering more sectors and co-operating more fully than any Free Trade Agreement anywhere in the world today.

'By the same token, a pick-and-mix approach for a non-member state is out of the question.

"We can deal multilaterally with the overproduction of steel, but this is the wrong way to go about it".

Mr Blair claimed last week that Brexit could "sacrifice peace in Northern Ireland" and a day afterwards Sir John threw doubt on whether the "still fragile peace process" would stay intact after our European Union exit.

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