Britain will not align with European Union rules after Brexit, the UK's Home Secretary has insisted, as the country prepares to leave the bloc on Friday.

Priti Patel said Britain would take back control of its laws, money and borders and will diverge from EU rules as it carves out free trade agreements.

The European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has warned that the UK's access to the single market would be weakened if it diverged from Brussels' rules.

But Ms Patel, in an interview with Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday, said: "In terms of divergence, we are not having alignment. We will be diverging. We want to take control of our laws, money and our borders.

"And to do that we will not be rule-takers - we will be setting our own laws and that is a fundamental feature of leaving the European Union."

However Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay appeared to adopt a softer approach, saying the UK would not diverge "just for the sake of it".

He told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: "We're coming out of the single market, we're coming out of the customs union. We're not just going to diverge just for the sake of it - we need to look at where the opportunities are.

"But it is true that we are going to have control of our approach to regulation and that's the very essence of Brexit: that we can do things differently, particularly where, for example, there is innovation, there is new technologies, there's things where we want to move quickly.

"Brexit at its very core is that we will have control of our laws, our regulation and that is why we can't be a rule-taker: we need to have that opportunity."

He said the UK's objective is to have a zero-tariff, zero-quota, ambitious trade policy - but to do that in "parallel in our talks with the rest of the world - and in particular with the US".


Read more: Negotiating post-Brexit trade deal will be challenging - McEntee


Business groups have raised concerns about the prospect of divergence from the single market, after the Chancellor Sajid Javid said last weekend there would not be alignment.

Their comments came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain will become a global, trail-blazing country after it leaves the EU and unveiled the government's full plans to mark Brexit day.

Mr Johnson said he will "look ahead with confidence" to the future on Friday when the UK formally leaves the bloc - nearly four years since the referendum.

He will deliver a special address to the nation to mark the historic day and Downing Street will be illuminated with a light display designed to symbolise the strength and unity of the UK's four nations.