EU Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt says Theresa May can't 'cherry pick' benefits of the European Union

'If you want the advantages of a single market and customs union, you have to take the obligations' 

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The Independent Online

The European Parliament's point man for Brexit negotiations has said Theresa May is creating an “illusion” after she outlined Britain's plan for leaving the European Union.

Guy Verhofstadt said the United Kingdom would not be allowed to “cherry pick” the benefits of the EU but said it was important that clarity had been given on the country's position. 

The former Prime Minister of Belgium made the statement at the European Parliament and also said it was “not very helpful” that there had been discussions about Britain becoming a tax haven. 

“I think it creates an illusion that you can go out of the single market and the customs union and you can cherry pick and still have a number of advantages. 

“I think this will not happen. We shall never accept a situation in which it is better to be outside the single market than be a member of the European union,” Mr Verhofstadt said. 

“If you want the advantages you of a single market and customs union, you have to take the obligations,” he added. 

Mr Verhofstadt added that the 22 committees of the European Parliament would now scrutinise and analyse the proposals that had been put forward by Ms May. 

The British Prime Minister said the United Kingdom would not remain a full member of the EU customs union after Brexit, and instead would negotiate its own trade deals with the rest of the world.

Ms May suggested Britain would prefer to retain a form of "associate membership" of the union, limiting the increase in red tape for businesses who export to continental Europe.

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