1. ITV Report

Theresa May insists UK can have a 'bespoke' Brexit trade deal after EU says she can't 'cherry-pick'

Theresa May insisted the UK can cherry-pick its trade deal with the EU.

Theresa May has insisted that the UK can have a "bespoke" trade agreement with the EU after the bloc's main negotiator said there was "no way" they would allow it.

The Prime Minister hit back after Michel Barnier said the UK would not be allowed to "cherry-pick" from elements of various deals offered to other countries as both parties prepare to begin Brexit trade talks.

"Today one of the senior members of the negotiating team has it made very clear that the United Kingdom can indeed have its own, if you like, bespoke agreement in terms of trade relationship with the European Union for the future," Mrs May told MPs during an update the the House of Commons.

"If anybody cares to thinks about it every trade agreement is actually a bespoke agreement between the parties concerns....That will certainly be what we are looking for in our negotiations with the EU."

Mrs May gave the update to MPs after meeting with her Brexit "war cabinet" - a sub-committee of senior ministers - as they worked to thrash out a stance on post-Brexit trade and an "implementation period".

Michel Barnier said there was 'no way' the UK could 'cherry pick' trade deal elements. Credit: PA

Her statement rebuts withering comments made by Mr Barnier on British hopes for a custom-made trade agreement after Brexit.

"We won't mix up the various scenarios to create a specific one and accommodate their wishes, mixing, for instance, the advantages of the Norwegian model, member of the single market, with the simple requirements of the Canadian one," he told Prospect magazine.

"No way. They have to face the consequences of their own decision."

The debate has long been a sticking point between both side, with the UK saying that a bespoke deal can be reached while critics suggest it is too complex to agree during the limited time before Brexit takes effect.

Britain will start registering arrivals from the EU after Brexit. Credit: PA

Mrs May also said that the Government planned to trading with the EU under the bloc's rules during the "strictly limited" transition period, but would be actively working to sign global trade agreements with other countries.

"We will prepare for our future independent trade policy by negotiating and where possible signing trade deals with third countries which could come into force after the conclusion of the implementation period," she said.

The EU's guidelines say that during any transition period the UK would have to comply with the bloc's trade policy - preventing it from striking its own deals with other countries.

Britain will also begin to register people arriving from EU countries during the transition period to "prepare for our future immigration system", the House of Commons was told.

Jeremy Corbyn said Brexit was being used to 'water down' workers' rights. Credit: PA

Mrs May was accused by the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of trying to use Brexit to "water down" working rights and turn the country into a tax haven for the super-rich.

“It’s becoming clear that many of the Government benches want to use Brexit to rip up rights of work, environmental standards consumer protections and to deregulate our economy," he said.

Mr Corbyn raised report that ministers were pushing to scrap the EU Working Time Directive, which limits the working week to 48 hours, claims that were brushed aside by Mrs May.

She later said that the working time limits will be transferred into UK law under the government's EU Withdrawal Bill.