• Downing Street has said the UK will not seek an “off-the-shelf” model for a post-Brexit transitional period, contradicting the position Philip Hammond is believed to have expressed to business leaders. The chancellor has been pressing for a simple transition arrangement to maintain trading conditions with Europe for at least two years after Brexit, mirroring arrangements the EU has with countries such as Norway and Switzerland giving them access to the single market. However, on Monday a No 10 spokesman said: “There were reports last week that we were looking for an off-the-shelf model. We are not looking for an off-the-shelf model. Precisely what the implementation model will look like is up for negotiation.” (Guardian)
  • Downing Street insisted on Monday that it remained committed to the tough Brexit negotiating stance that Theresa May set out earlier this year — including ending the free movement of EU citizens in the UK — after days of contradictory statements from ministers. The prime minister’s spokesman said that free movement of EU citizens to and from the UK would end in March 2019, when the UK leaves the bloc. “Elements of the post-Brexit immigration system will be brought forward in due course,” the spokesman added. “It would be wrong to speculate on what these will look like or to suggest that free movement will continue.” (FT)
  • The UK’s economic model will remain “recognisably European” after Brexit, according to the Chancellor. Philip Hammond told the French newspaper Le Monde that the UK will not become an aggressive Singapore-style corporate tax haven by slashing corporation tax and cutting regulations for business. The Chancellor is tempering his stance from earlier in the year. Indeed he can attribute some of the suggestions that the UK’s might become a tax-haven to himself. In an interview for German Newspaper Welt am Sonntag in January, he said that with the UK would like to remain a European style economy but added: “If we are forced to become something different then we will have to become something different.” He clarified: “We could be forced to change our economic model, and we will have to change our model to regain competitiveness.” (Sky News)
  • The Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he is working to “keep the door open” for Britain to halt Brexit, amid growing rows over the future border with the North. Asked if he thought there was any possibility of Britain changing its mind about EU withdrawal, Varadkar said: “Well, I still hope that it won’t happen.” He added: “When it comes to my work in Brussels, working with other European prime ministers and presidents, it’s part of my remit to keep the door open, not just to the European Union, but also to the single market and also to the customs union, should they decide to go down that route. “That, I think, would be the best outcome for Ireland and Northern Ireland and Britain.” (Independent)