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British Government Denies ‘Have Cake and Eat It’ Is Official Brexit Policy

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The British government has denied that ‘have cake and eat it’ is an official Brexit negotiation policy, after a senior politician’s aide was photographed carrying notes into a government meeting that implied the U.K. was pursuing such a strategy.

Julia Dockerill, an aide to the Conservative Party’s vice-chair Mark Field, was captured on a long-lens camera carrying the notes into Downing Street after a meeting at the Department for Exiting the European Union. A close look at the hand-written document revealed the words ‘What’s the model? Have cake and eat it’ as well as a comment believed to be about negotiations with the EU: ‘French likely to be most difficult.’

The notes also showed that the government is not confident about remaining in the single market and that a ‘Canada-plus’ option could look to replicate a trade deal between the E.U. and Ottawa.

However, a Downing Street spokesperson told the BBC said the notes “did not belong to a government official or a special adviser” and did “not reflect the government’s position in relation to Brexit negotiations.” Business Secretary Greg Clark told the BBC’s Today program that he was “interested and amused” to see the notes because they did not “reflect any of the conversations that [he had] been part of in Downing Street.”


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Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com