UK setting out post-Brexit transition period position

LONDON ENGLAND- FEBRUARY 05 European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union Michel Barnier and Brexit Secretary David Davis walk in Downing Street ahead of a meeting

More than 60 Conservative MPs have signed a letter to Theresa May making a series of "suggestions" about the government's Brexit strategy, reports.

Labour has accused Theresa May of being "too weak" to face down her Tory colleagues who back a hard Brexit.

The letter was written by former Remainer John Penrose and signed by another 61 MPs, including hardline Brexiteer Mr Rees-Mogg, former cabinet member Priti Patel and former party leader Iain Duncan Smith.

As the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg noted, the number of signatories on the letter is significantly greater than the number of MP's needed for a leadership challenge: 48.

It sets out the MPs' "continued, strong backing" for the vision set out in Mrs May's Lancaster House speech in January 2017.

"I think there's an important point that EU citizens who come here after we've left the EU will have done so knowing that we're leaving the European Union and will have different expectations to those who have been here for some time and are entitled to settled status", she said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Business Insider reported that the European Parliament is planning to call for Britain to have "privileged" access to the European Single Market after Brexit, including membership of EU agencies.

As part of a draft withdrawal agreement reached last December, May signed up to paying up to 40 billion pounds ($56 billion) towards the U.K.'s ongoing liabilities for pensions and the European Union budget after Brexit.

Sam Lowe, a trade expert at the Centre for European Reform, told the Guardian: "A standstill transition is in everyone's interest and absolutely essential if the government is serious about negotiating a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship between the EU and UK".

In it, the MPs say Mrs May "must" ensure Britain can change its laws without authorisation from Brussels from the moment it leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Davis is to publish his response to the EU's negotiating guidelines on the transition period today.

"The UK must be free to start its own trade negotiations immediately".

The letter included a series of suggestions for Theresa May, such as asking for "full regulatory autonomy"; only complying with the EU's vision for a transition period "if the final deal is fully negotiated"; and make sure the United Kingdom can negotiate trade deals with "third countries" as soon as it leaves the EU.

Rees-Mogg has said the government's plans for the transition will render the United Kingdom a "vassal state" of the EU.

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