Exclusive: Banks want to be subject to EU laws for five years in post-Brexit deal

Fri Dec 9, 2016 7:48am EST
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By Andrew MacAskill and Anjuli Davies

LONDON (Reuters) - Large banks in Britain want the UK government to allow their industry to remain subject to EU laws for up to five years after Brexit, a move likely to enrage eurosceptics who want to break away from the bloc's legal system as soon as possible. The banks - international players - are also pressing the government to allow the European Court of Justice to rule on decisions related to their businesses during that period, according to a document reviewed by Reuters.

The document was drawn up by law firms on behalf of banks lobbying the government for a departure in stages from the EU. It has the support of major banks, has been shared with the Treasury and is the most detailed request yet by Britain's financial industry for a transitional period to give it longer to adapt to Brexit, bankers said.

The Treasury declined to comment on the document.

"The report has been received as a fairly serious piece of work. It focuses on the legal underpinning of a transitional arrangement," according to one banker at a large international firm. "It's a heavyweight legal piece of work."The British government is currently divided on whether to support demands for transitional arrangements - and if so, in what form - reflecting diverging views about the best way to leave the EU and concerns about a backlash from those who campaigned and voted for Brexit.

While some Treasury officials are backing the move, the Brexit minister David Davis and Prime Minister Theresa May are yet to commit publicly to supporting any deal.

The Treasury said in a statement finance minister Philip Hammond is closely listening to the financial sector's views.

The Department for Exiting the European Union referred Reuters to the Treasury for comment.   Continued...

A clock strikes midday in front of the Bank of England in the City of London, Britain, November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls