Under proposals from Brussels, Britain would be subject to all EU rules and regulations, including freedom of movement, but have no control on the bloc’s decision making until the two-year Brexit transition ends.
Brexiteers including Jacob Rees-Mogg have claimed the deal would make Britain a “vassal state” and have branded it an “ultimatum”.
And an online petition claims the idea of a transition is a “betrayal” of the 17.4 million leave voters, calling for the UK to exit immediately in 2019 with no implementation period.
But the Government defended itself against the petition, saying a transition does not mean “postponing Brexit”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg says the UK will be a vassal state
But the numbers signing up have continued to grow, reaching more than 31,000.
If the total hits 100,000, the issue will have to be considered for a parliamentary debate.
The petition reads: “We must leave the EU completely in March 2019. No transition period, no delay.
“Theresa May is betraying the British people who voted to leave the EU by making the UK stay in until 2021.
Thousands want no transition deal
“No immigration control, no border control, no sovereignty – an absolute betrayal of the 17 million voters who chose to leave.”
This week, Boris Johnson began a series of landmark speeches by key Government figures in a bid to set the tone for another round of tough Brussels negotiations over the transition.
And Mr Rees-Mogg again slammed the EU for their intransigence.
He raged: “It would be bizarre to in a position where we are outside of the European Union and have to accept laws that inside the European Union we could veto.
“Even the most hardened eurosceptics don’t want to say no to European regulation that is sensible out of cussedness. There are many regulations that come from a higher level, come from international agreements that will be applied in the EU, in America, in Japan.
“It would be eccentric for the UK to say ‘well, as Europe’s got it, we’re not having it’. What matters is that we decide. If we think the resolution isn’t suitable, we can say no.”
In its response to the petition, the Department for Exiting the EU insisted a transition was the only way to ensure a smooth exit and it would be able to negotiate and sign new trade deals during that time.
It said: “As the Prime Minister said in Florence ‘the United Kingdom will cease to be a member of the European Union on 29th March 2019.
“An implementation period does not mean postponing Brexit.
Brexit talks are moving on to transition
“The Government’s position has been very clear – the country voted to leave the EU, and there must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door, and no second referendum.
“We are delivering on the decision of the British people – this does not change because of the implementation period.
“A strictly time-limited implementation period will form a sound basis for the UK’s future prosperity, delivering certainty to individuals and businesses as we move towards our future relationship.
“It will enable us to exit the EU in a smooth and orderly way, with minimum disruption for businesses and citizens.
“To provide this certainty, the implementation period will be based on the existing structure of EU rules and regulations.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been highly critical
But it is important that we make sure UK interests are represented during the period.
“As such, we want to agree with the EU a way of discussing any new laws that are brought in, if we think they would be harmful to our interests.
“This would help ensure the implementation period operates smoothly, allowing us to resolve any issues promptly.
“We have been clear that this period should be guided by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new processes required for when we leave the EU. At the moment, this points to a period of around two years.
“The implementation period will not delay our leaving the EU – we will leave on 29th March 2019.
“This is absolutely necessary as the EU can only legally conclude our future partnership once we are no longer a member state.”
The petition is available to sign online.