British foreign secretary fear loss of access to single market

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sunday (June 26) it would be “catastrophic” for Britain to lose access to the European single market after it voted to leave the European Union.

Speaking on ITV television, Hammond also told host Robert Peston that there was no imperative to serve the Article 50 notice – the formal process of leaving – at any particular time.

“The negotiation will not start until the Article 50 Notice has been served and as the prime minister has made clear, that will be a decision for the next prime minister,” he said, adding that the referendum is an “internal matter” and the timing would be determined by Britain.

Hammond, who campaigned to remain in the bloc, said Britain would not be able to keep access to the single market while also asserting complete control over migration from EU member states.

The foreign secretary confirmed the cabinet, which was split over whether the country should vote to leave the European Union, would remain in place until a new prime minister was in office.

Asked about what may happen to Gibraltar, a British enclave in southern Spain which Madrid said it would seek to jointly govern with London after the Brexit vote, Hammond said Britain would be “less able to protect Gibraltar’s interests”.

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