BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Controlling immigration does not necessarily mean Britain will lose access to the European Union's single market following its exit from the bloc, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Monday.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said the June 23 vote to leave the EU was a message from British voters that they wanted curbs on immigration, but EU politicians have said that will mean Britain cannot retain single market access.
"You put it to me that we know that if we control our borders, we will not be able to get access to the European Union market, I said we don’t know that at all," Hammond said during an interview with ITV television.
"Everything is on the table, everything is up for discussion. We know what some people in Europe are saying, but they too are preparing a negotiating position for what will be a long and tough negotiation," Hammond said.
He also said no-one wanted to see British tourists having to get visas to travel to Europe.
Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; editing by William Schomberg