Barnier: the United Kingdom can change its mind on Brexit until 2020

Brexit news EU fishing rules Janice Atkinson

The UK has until the end of 2020 to change its mind about leaving Europe's single market, the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator has said.

The UK will formally leave the EU on 29 March next year, but will remain in the bloc's single market and customs union for the 21-month transition period.

The UK will be out of the single market, out of the EU's freedom of movement rules, and setting its own regulations on immigration, she said at a news conference in Copenhagen.

Davis said Members of Parliament would insist on "a lot of detail" before signing off on any deal because Britain will have to make a payment of about 39 billion pounds ($55 billion) to the European Union to honor its financial obligations to the trade bloc.

Speaking to European reporters, Mr Barnier said: "If the British wish to modify their red lines, we will modify ours in effect".

Responding to Mr Barnier's remarks, Labour MP Chris Leslie, a supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, said: "These comments by Michel Barnier demonstrate yet again how ludicrous it was for the Government to take single market membership off the table in the Brexit negotiations".

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Michel Barnier revealed Brussels would consider a reversal of the Government's commitment to quitting the single market even after Brexit.

It also suggests that the European Union wants the document sketching out the shape of the future relationship which will be agreed during the next phase of talks this year to be very, very open - not the detailed blueprint the British government seeks.

"The withdrawal agreement is payments of up to 39 billion pounds, it's a lot of money, and parliament is unlikely to sign off on it unless we can be pretty substantive about what is going to be there in the long run", Davis said at a Wall Street Journal event in London.

Recent remarks by Labour's Barry Gardiner, the UK's shadow trade secretary, where he appeared to underplay the importance of a soft border post Brexit - which is Labour's position - and suggested that the Government was focusing on the Border issue for economic reasons, have done little to allay concerns in the business community about their future once the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Speaking in Dublin, Donald Tusk said the UK's departure from the EU was "one of the saddest moments in twenty-first century European history".

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