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UK seeks 'freest possible' banking trade deal after Brexit

Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 22:15

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Britain is aiming to maintain the "freest possible" trade in financial services with the European Union, Theresa May's government said, as it published its formal Brexit negotiating plan for the first time.

[LONDON] Britain is aiming to maintain the "freest possible" trade in financial services with the European Union, Theresa May's government said, as it published its formal Brexit negotiating plan for the first time.

"The financial services sector is an important part of the European economy, contributing significantly to the funding and growth of European business," according to the government's document published Thursday.

"It is in the interests of the UK and the EU that this should continue in order to avoid market fragmentation and the possible disruption or withdrawal of services."

The document will be used by lawmakers who wish to put the prime minister under pressure over her plans. While the opposition Labour Party has backed the principle of leaving the EU, it has said it will push for maximum access to the bloc's single market. Many in the Conservative Party have also said they'll push to keep more ties with the bloc.

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That the government has had to publish the plan at all is the latest of a series of retreats for Mrs May. Last month ministers argued that her Jan 17 speech on the subject gave all the information necessary. But the Supreme Court's ruling that the government needed Parliament's approval to begin negotiations has forced Mrs May to give more details.

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