Future Relationship Between the UK and the EU

Part of Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 18th July 2018.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe 5:06 pm, 18th July 2018

A little over a week ago, I appeared on TV and invited colleagues to take stock, so I hope that in this speech I will make some attempt to do that.

The first thing I should like to say is that I believe we should develop

“a special relationship with” the European Union,

“aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values” which we share

“and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.”

Informed Members of the House will have spotted that in saying that I have transposed article 8 of the Treaty on European Union. That should be our common goal.

What kind of character should this co-operation have? I do not want us to build a wall; I want us to remain the closest of friends and partners. In that spirit, I propose, first, that

“as we are confronted with similar security threats…the EU and the UK continue our common fight against terrorism and international crime.”

Secondly, I propose that the UK should

“participate in EU programmes in the fields of research and innovation, as well as in education and culture. This is key to maintain mutually beneficial and enriching personal networks in these…areas, and for our shared common community of values to prosper…in future.”

Thirdly, I would like to

“avoid that particularly absurd consequence of Brexit that is the disruption of flights between the UK and the EU.”

I would also like to make sure that there is no disruption on data, the channel tunnel or roll-on/roll-off ferries. Finally, I

“propose that we aim for a trade agreement covering all sectors and with zero tariffs on goods. Like other free trade agreements, it should address services. And in fisheries, reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained.”

In saying that, I have just stuck very closely, with some variations, to quoting President Donald Tusk’s statement on the draft guidelines on the framework for the future relationship with the UK, issued on 7 March 2018.

I have been astonished recently to learn just how many colleagues had not noticed that offer which was placed before us—a wide-ranging offer including free trade and no tariffs in all sectors, including services. We have to ask why we have not taken this path. I have concluded from my experience that it is first and foremost because the establishment, the governing class of this country, does not believe in Brexit. The governing class believes in EU membership and is trying to deliver something as close as possible to the EU—not the EEA and the customs union because it is known that such an arrangement would not be accepted as leaving, but something like the customs union and EEA-lite, if I might call it that. That is what is before us in the Chequers White Paper.