Philip Hammond

Thank you for contacting me about the Chancellor of the Exchequer's position on leaving the EU.

I can assure you that every member of the Cabinet, including the Chancellor, is fully committed to taking the UK out of the EU by March 2019. The Government has always been consistent in its view that we need a good deal with the EU and I am optimistic that this will be achieved.

As the Chancellor and Government have made clear, we will be leaving the EU on 29 March 2019, and that means leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market at that point. This means that the UK will regain control over all the issues you mention including immigration and the laws that affect the people of this country.

I believe that it is sensible to have an implementation period so that businesses and individuals have time to adjust to our new arrangements with the EU. The Prime Minister has said that instability and a cliff-edge for business would not be in anyone's interests. I entirely agree but make no mistake: there will not be an unlimited transition period. This would not be good for the UK or the EU. The Government has been clear about this and this remains the position.

While there has been some uncertainty since the vote to leave the EU, economic news remains positive. Unemployment is at its lowest since 1975, retails sales have increased by nearly 3 per cent since last year and manufacturing orders are at their highest level since 1988. This is no small part due to the hard work of everyone in the Government.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.