Britain could keep some EU regulations after Brexit, an official has claimed
Despite calls for Theresa May to make a clean break from the EU, Britain could still take part in still face being held to account by some of Brussels agencies after leaving the bloc.
The Prime Minister is due to trigger Article 50 on Wednesday with Britain expected to leave the EU by March 2019.
But the two-year deadline could leave the Government with no option but to remain under some EU agencies with the Brexit department insisting it will “consider all practical options”.
We simply don’t have the expertise in some areas and wouldn’t have the time to start up new agencies from scratch
One official, close to the negotiations, told the Financial Times: “We simply don’t have the expertise in some areas and wouldn’t have the time to start up new agencies from scratch.”
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) estimates the Government will need to create British versions of up to 34 EU agencies to cover areas such as agriculture, transport and energy.
Increasing pressure on Mrs May to secure a deal, officials close to Brexit negotiations argue Britain’s continued involvement in some EU agencies would be required for a transition period.
Ministers have been urged to spell out how much it will cost Britain to replace EU regulatory agencies after Brexit.
Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Tom Brake said: "Theresa May's claim the UK can leave the EU without a deal in place has been left in tatters.
"It's now obvious that crashing out without a deal would be a bureaucratic nightmare, inflicting huge damage to our economy and costing the taxpayer millions.
"The Government must clarify which EU agencies it plans to replace and at what cost to the public purse.
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It is thought up to 19,000 EU rules and regulations could be translated into domestic law
Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on Wednesday
"At the end of this process, the British people must be given the final say on the Conservative Brexit deal."
A Department for Exiting the European Union spokesman said: "The UK is leaving the EU and will be ready for all outcomes of negotiations.
"There are a number of EU agencies which enforce particular regulatory regimes, or facilitate information sharing.
"As part of exit negotiations, the Government will discuss with the EU and member states the UK's future status and arrangements with regard to these agencies, and will consider all practical options."
David Davis' Brexit department said it will “consider all practical options”
Mrs May will set out how the Government plans to restore sovereignty over Britain's laws on Thursday, publishing a detailed paper entitled the Great Repeal Bill on ending "the supremacy of EU lawmakers".
The repeal bill will convert EU law into British law with David Lidington, leader of the lower house of parliament, saying much of the legislative work will involve small tweaks in the language used to make sure it relates to Britain.
It is thought up to 19,000 EU rules and regulations could be translated into domestic law.
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Think tank Open Europe has urged the Prime Minister to avoid a “half-in, half-out” deal with the EU customs union and instead pursue a clean break.
Open Europe said Mrs May should pull Britain out of the union entirely before striking a new "customs facilitation agreement" as part of a comprehensive free trade deal, similar to those enjoyed by Switzerland and Canada.
A comprehensive UK-EU free trade agreement would ensure tariff-free trade and minimise customs delays.
The think tank said Mrs May should consider a transition period to extend customs union membership for one or two years after Brexit to increase chances of a favourable agreement for both sides and minimise disruption.