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I am most grateful to my hon. Friend; I am determined to get through what I have here.
In the context of the City and financial services, there is so much for us to learn from the experience of the European Free Trade Association and its jurisdictional relationships with the European Court of Justice. These provide guidelines and lessons to be learned in achieving mutual respect while retaining our sovereignty and unshackling ourselves from the European Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction over external trade policy, which does not work for us even though it does specifically for Germany.
We are fortunate to have Mr Crawford Falconer as our chief trade negotiation adviser and a strong team to deliver a first-class trade policy with major countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia. A few days ago, the Secretary of State for International Trade had an extremely good meeting with the US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross. We have had similar reactions from the other countries I have mentioned. These provide the launch pad for us to enable the growth that will accelerate us towards a global prosperity zone for the United Kingdom. This is a massive new opportunity for the United Kingdom to resume its 300-year-old role in international trade in goods and services, in which we have always delivered throughout our commercial history.
To give some flavour of that, the House of Commons Library tells us that in the last year alone we had a trade surplus of £39.6 billion with the USA, of £1.3 billion with Canada, and in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, a trade surplus of £3.7 billion with Australia. They have already said that they want to trade bilaterally with us, and we would be crazy not to do it. Out of the customs union, we will build on this—inside it we cannot—and our economic growth and prosperity will expand exponentially, and there will be the means of providing security and stability, and, with that, the provision of good and effective public services mentioned by Joan Ryan.
I believe that leaving the EU while achieving acceptable jurisdictional answers to our financial services and other regulatory arrangements, which are currently with the EU, is eminently achievable. An overly narrow view of the potential jurisdictional difficulties is wrongly pessimistic, particularly as regards our potential trading relationships with the rest of the world and our recognition that the single market does not deliver for us.
I was glad that the Chancellor did not refer to the words “soft” and “hard” Brexit in his speech. The words “soft” and “hard” Brexit, so favoured by the BBC and others in the media, are an exercise in casuistry, a weapon of propaganda intended to create a fog when we need above all else clear lines and meanings. This applies equally to the expression “transitional arrangements”. Where do we draw the lines? What does it mean? Under what jurisdiction?
“‘When I use a word,’
Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is,’
said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’
said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master—that’s all.’”
No longer will our master be the European Union and its political puppet masters. They sought to absorb us into a political union, now on the cards as Angela Merkel has demonstrated this week as regards the new financial arrangements—