Britain needs a transition period to soften its exit from the European Union, but it can not be used to stop Brexit, two senior ministers said on Saturday, signalling a truce between rival factions in Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet.
In a joint "Sunday Telegraph" article, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond and global trade minister Liam Fox the two key ministers believed to be on opposing ends of Britain's future outside the EU - also said that the UK will not remain in the customs union during the transitional period.
The government will this week publish the first of three discussion papers ahead of the next round of negotiations, scheduled to start August 28 in Brussels, Brexit Secretary David Davis's office said in a statement on Sunday.
A source close to Mr Davis said the papers would highlight the British teams were "on the front foot" in the negotiations.
Estimates of how much Britain will have to pay to fulfill its obligations from the period of its membership until March 2019 are in the tens of billions of euros range but estimates vary widely among European Union and United Kingdom politicians and economists. The two sides will be looking for a solution to those issues at the next round of talks due at the end of this month.
A British paper focused on "issues unique to Northern Ireland and Ireland" is expected ahead of the talks, but no further details of the proposal were provided on Sunday.
It has confirmed it will publish a number of papers, including one on Northern Ireland's border and future customs arrangements.
The government's Brexit department said Britain wants to show that progress on the preliminary issues has been made and "we are ready to broaden out the negotiations" by the time of an European Union summit in October.
The British ministers also promised a series of papers on their ideas for a "Future Partnership" with the EU to be presented in the run-up to October's European Council. The first will be a proposal for new customs arrangements.
Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered the Brexit process on March 29 and divorce negotiations officially began on June 19.
"We believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty - but it can not be indefinite; it can not be a back door to staying in the EU", Hammond and Fox wrote in a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
Her comments came as Labour former foreign secretary David Miliband issued a call for politicians on all sides to fight back against the "worst consequences" of last year's vote for Britain to leave the EU.
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