Defra minister George Eustice has become the latest high-ranking politician to suggest the UK will adopt a more consensual approach to Brexit.

But he insisted the UK remained on course to leave the EU single market – despite the hung parliament following this month’s general election.

“The important thing to remember is that both the Labour Party and the Conservative were very clear that we should leave the single market,” said Mr Eustice.

See also: Cereals 2017: ‘End Brexit uncertainty’ for agriculture

The government would be looking for the “closest possible customs union”, he told Farmers Weekly at the Cereals 2017 event in Lincolnshire.

 

Mr Eustice added: “It is quite possible actually that we can achieve some kind of consensus about the type of Brexit that we should deliver.”

With Theresa May due to start Brexit negotiations imminently, farm leaders have called on the government to “end the uncertainty” over the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

The NFU wants continued “tariff-free and frictionless access” to the single market – warning agriculture is the sector that could be most affected by Brexit.

Mr Eustice said it was important not to get hung up on the terminology.

“The crucial thing is, as the prime minister [has] made clear… we want a bold, ambitious, comprehensive customs agreement.

“That can be a very close agreement that enables us to have the kind of close trading relationship we want with our European neighbours.”