Brexit doesn't mean a 'Mad Max-style free-for-all'

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said it appeared the prime minister had "one arm tied behind her back by the Tory militants who are now nakedly acting like a party within a party".

For all of David Davis's support on the Eurosceptic Conservative backbenches, his critics routinely question whether the Brexit Secretary is up to the job - and even suggest he might be driving Britain into a Mad Max-style dystopian future.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "The secretary of state provided some welcome assurances that the government wants to maintain and improve standards that deliver for consumers, whilst not inflicting any additional administrative burden on business".

Separately, a report this weekend from Greenpeace's Unearthed website revealed how a network of transatlantic think tanks with close links to senior ministers is working on proposals for a UK-US trade deal that would see a clear dilution of food and environmental standards.

Instead, Britain will work with the European Union (EU) in a "race to the top", creating some of the strictest rules and standards of regulation anywhere in the world, Mr. Davis confirmed in a speech in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Tuesday.

"But what will be the case is, when we've agreed, there will be a fixed date".

Paul Blomfield, shadow Brexit minister, said: "It is clearer than ever that Theresa May can not deliver the Brexit deal Britain needs.

The UK agrees this points to a period of around two years, but wishes to discuss with the European Union the assessment that supports its proposed end date", Bloomberg reported the document saying. "Neither side should put up unnecessary barriers during this process", he will say.

David Davis made attempts to reassure business leaders that despite leaving the EU, Brexit "will not change the kind of country Britain is".

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said last month that the United Kingdom would be free to negotiate deals but not be able to sign any global trade agreements without the say-so of the EU.

The most vocal proponent of the idea in the UK Cabinet is Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who said he campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union, in part to "reinvigorate ties" with the Commonwealth.

Theresa May plans to announce her goals for a detailed trade agreement in an important speech next week, with main target the deal to be ready by October and to be signed immediately after Brexit in March 2019.

But three Whitehall sources told the Politico website that Brussels must make a commitment over a future trade deal before the Government hands over the cash.

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