May Hosts Poles in Brexit Talks Amid Anger at Carney Buffer Plan

Prime Minister Theresa May will host her Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo in London on Monday in the latest stage of her charm offensive aimed at smoothing Britains exit from the European Union.

The U.K.-Poland summit follows a weekend in which arguments over the best strategy for leaving the bloc intensified, with former Justice Secretary Michael Gove accusing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney of trying to stall the process with a buffer plan for business.

I am determined that Brexit will not weaken our relationship with Poland, rather it will serve as a catalyst to strengthen it, May said ahead of her meeting with Szydlo and talks between other senior ministers. It marks the start of a new chapter in our relations and we will work even more closely together to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.

May, who has set herself the goal of holding one-to-one talks with all 27 EU leaders before the European Council meets on Dec. 15, will emphasize historic bilateral links as she prepares the ground for negotiations due to start in March next year. While European leaders have made clear they are unwilling to compromise over the terms of Britains departure, the divisions within the U.K. were clear on Sunday as Gove railed at those pursuing a soft Brexit.

Two Years

Gove, who failed in a bid to lead the Conservative Party after David Cameron quit in the wake of the June 23 referendum, rejected a plan reportedly being devised by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to negotiate letting companies adjust to the U.K. leaving the bloc.

Carney has held private meetings and dinners with executives to gain support for a plan to let British companies remain in the EU single market for at least two years after Brexit, now scheduled for early 2019, The Sunday Times reported, citing a banker who attended one of the dinners. Gove said such arrangements wont be needed as Britain quits the customs union and the bureaucratic web of the single market.

There are some people who cant get over the fact that the British people have voted to leave the European Union and want to have a transitional arrangement that is as close as possible to staying in the bloc, Gove said when asked about Carneys proposal in an interview on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC television. Its far far better to provide people with certainty and to do so by having a clear, clean and simple approach.

Losing Sleep

May, who faces the first electoral test of her management of Brexit in a by-election in west London on Thursday, said she has lost sleep over the coming negotiations, having taken the job at a hugely challenging time for the country.

It is a moment of change. It is a hugely challenging time. And we need to get on with the deal in terms of Brexit, she said in response to being asked what keeps you awake at night? by a reporter from the Sunday Times Magazine. We can make a success of it, we will make a success of it, but these are really complex issues.

Former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair said last week that there is a case for holding a second referendum on the terms of Britains departure from the EU, a proposal which May has rejected.

Current Rules

Carneys proposal would allow companies to continue using current rules until at least 2021, allowing additional time to adapt to trading conditions after Brexit, the Sunday Times said. Neither the Bank of England nor Mays office responded to requests for comment.

The proposal comes a month after Carney offered to stay on as governor until June 2019, to help with an orderly transition to the U.K.s new relationship with Europe, ending months of speculation about his future.

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green, who campaigned to stay in the EU, said it is important that people dont see the talks with other European leaders as binary. The negotiations need to be more nuanced than just a question of being in or out, he said, and there could be different agreements for different elements of EU membership.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission wrote to political parties on Saturday to urge them to calm the rhetoric over Brexit in the wake of a rise in hate crimes, including the murder of a Polish immigrant in Harlow, northeast of London, in late August.

There is growing concern that the divisions on a range of big questions are widening and exacerbating tensions in our society. The murder of Arkadiusz Jozwick, racist, anti-semitic and homophobic attacks on the streets, and reports of hijabs being pulled off are all stains on our society, the commission said in an open letter to political parties posted on its website. Our elected representatives and the media should reflect and foster the best values in our society and engage people on contentious issues in a responsible and considered way.

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