British Members of Parliament (MPs) have begun debating a bill that will withdraw the United Kingdom from the single market, various news sources reported Thursday. Pro-Leave MPs continue to back a “Hard Brexit,” and are preparing to launch a public statement arguing their position.
Change Britain, the campaign that emerged out of Vote Leave, has prepared up to 40 signatures for a letter seen by the BBC and the Times. The letter is expected to be published in a Sunday newspaper. Various excerpts from the letter have already been circulated online.
The letter says: “Continued membership of the single market, even as part of a transitional agreement, would quite simply mean EU membership by another name – and we cannot allow our country to be kept in the EU by stealth. The government must respect the will of the British people, and that means leading the single market at the same time as we leave the EU.”
Appetite for a so-called “Hard Brexit” appear to have waned since the June 2016 referendum after the Conservative party lost its parliamentary majority in a snap election this past June. The result was a stunning blow to the Tories, who only a few months prior appeared poised to build on their parliamentary majority.
The election result has also pressured Prime Minister Theresa May to abandon her call for a hard exit from the EU. A softer exit from the single market was alluded to by first secretary of state Damian Green, who recently said that the government is willing to make concessions on an EU withdrawal bill. The bill is expected to make its way through parliament in the coming weeks.
Negotiations between London and Brussels formally began in June. The Tory government is aiming to finalize Brexit by March 2019, two years after Prime Minister May officially notified the EU of her intent to leave the bloc. However, agreeing on a new trade deal is expected to be difficult, which may result in an extension of the two-year negotiating window. Any extension must be approved by all EU member states.
 Heather Stewart (7 September 2017). “Pro-Leave MPs prepare public statement insistent on hard Brexit.” The Guardian.
 Rowena Mason and Jessica Elgot (7 September 2017). “UK government ‘willing to make EU withdrawal no concessions.” The Guardian.