Article 50

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 24 January 2017.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 12:39, 24 January 2017

Let me say this to my right hon. Friend, who passionately holds a well-formed view on these matters. First, in terms of bringing people together, a large part of the Prime Minister’s speech was aimed at creating a sense of this country that everybody can get behind, ranging from the protection of employment rights through to our role in the world, all of which is very important. Secondly, the Prime Minister laid out an incredibly clear future and a future approach for us, so I think that she did everything one could ask of a Prime Minister to deliver on our undertakings.

My right hon. Friend Anna Soubry talks about things that were not on the ballot paper. What was on the ballot paper was leaving the European Union. I am afraid that it is very difficult to see how we can leave the European Union and still stay inside the single market, with all the commitments that go with that. What we have come up with—I hope to persuade her that this is a very worthwhile aim—is the idea of a comprehensive free trade agreement and a comprehensive customs agreement that will deliver the exact same benefits as we have, but also enable my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade to go and form trade deals with the rest of the world, which is the real upside of leaving the European Union.