Diane Abbott backs Theresa May's two-year Brexit transition plan

Aubrey Allegretti, Political Reporter, in Brighton

Labour's Diane Abbott has backed plans for a two-year transitional period after the official Brexit date.

The shadow home secretary said she was "content" with the proposal, revealed by Theresa May in a high-profile speech to woo EU negotiators in Florence.

Ms Abbott added she was "glad" the Prime Minister had shunned resistance to the move from Foreign Secretary and arch Brexiteer Boris Johnson.

"We're content with the fact that the Tories have adopted the principle of a transitional period," the Hackney MP told Sky News.

"We think that's an important move by the Tories.

"It's a move that was resisted by the people around Boris Johnson, so we're glad that Theresa May has talked about a two year transitional period."

Labour has previously said it would keep the UK in both the single market and the customs union during a transition period.

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was later asked if the transitional period should be up to ten years long.

He said: "I don't think so. I think it's impossible for anyone to put an absolute figure on it."

Deputy leader Tom Watson also said Labour called for a transitional period because it was "very concerned" there was not enough time to negotiate before the Article 50 deadline at the end of March 2019.

The Government's current plan for delaying a total divorce until 2021 has riled hardcore Eurosceptics but was praised for being a "more realistic" approach by European Parliament chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.

He said: "Finally, the UK Government concedes a transition period will be necessary, as the European Parliament already indicated in its resolution of the 5th of April."

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