2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:01 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Charlie Elphicke Charlie Elphicke Conservative, Dover 9:01 pm, 11th September 2017

My hon. Friend makes a powerful argument. There are those who say that we have to beg Europe for a deal. Last time I looked, the European Union had a £100 billion surplus on trade in goods with the United Kingdom. If there were tariffs, European exports to Britain would be hit by £13 billion, whereas our exports to Europe would be hit by only £6 billion. That shows why it is in Europe’s interest to do a free trade deal, and why it would be an economically illiterate act of self-harm by the European Union not to want to do a trade deal. If anything, a trade deal is more in the EU’s economic interest than it is in ours.

Those are the hard numbers, and that is where the House should be focusing. If we want scrutiny, we should scrutinise how we can reduce the divorce bill, ideally to nothing. We should scrutinise how we can make sure we have a positive relationship with the European Union in the years to come, how we can have free trade, how we can have trade across the rest of the world, and how Britain can be positioned to grow so that our sons and daughters can have the kind of future that they expect us to build for them. That is why we need to approach this positively and thoughtfully, and it is why we need to apply scrutiny to the things our constituents care about, rather than process.