(Adds UK Business Secretary comments)
LONDON Nov 29 Britain denied on Tuesday that a
document photographed in the hands of a Conservative Party
official which said the strategy for Brexit talks was to "Have
cake and eat it" accurately reflected its plans for forthcoming
EU divorce negotiations.
The handwritten note, which also said Britain would be
unlikely to stay in the EU's single market, was pictured being
carried by an aide to Mark Field, vice-chairman of Prime
Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party, after a meeting with
Brexit officials in Downing Street.
The photograph was printed in newspapers on Tuesday and
showed the memo contained the lines: "What's the model? Have
cake and eat it" and "It's unlikely we'll be offered single
May has promised to trigger formal divorce talks with the
European Union by the end of March but has so far been
tight-lipped about what Britain is seeking to achieve in the
two-years of talks which will then follow.
"These individual notes do not belong to a government
official or a special adviser," a government spokesman said.
"They do not reflect the government's position in relation to
The handwritten note suggested a deal on manufacturing would
be "relatively straightforward" to achieve but one on services
would be harder.
The government was "loath" to bring in "transitional"
arrangements, it said, and suggested Britain could seek a
"Canada Plus" deal, a reference to a trade deal agreed between
Canada and the EU last month after seven years of talks.
It also warned "French likely to be most difficult".
Business Secretary Greg Clark said he did not recognise any
of the memo's contents.
"I was interested and amused to see it because it doesn't
reflect any of the conversations that I've been a part of in
Downing Street," told BBC radio.
Asked if "have cake and eat it" was indeed government
strategy, he said: "It would be nice to have but it's not the
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)