EU Exit Negotiations

Part of Government Overseas Aid Commitment: Private Investment – in the House of Commons at 5:14 pm on 9th October 2018.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 5:14 pm, 9th October 2018

Our opening offer from the Chequers meeting is that we will join part of the single market, so long as we do not comply with all its rules as they are at the moment, and that we will join the customs union, so long as we are allowed to have an exception that allows us to put holes through the tariff wall with our own third-party agreements with other countries. The other EU leaders have been signalling for months that that is unacceptable, and so far it has not got us very far.

As our chief negotiator, will the Secretary of State assure me that he now expects that, as with all international organisations, the EU will indeed move a little nearer to our position, just as we move a little nearer to its position as a matter of compromise? Will he reject as quite ridiculous the arguments from some quarters that we can resolve this serious international dispute by tearing up Chequers and moving even further away from the EU’s minimum requirements for anybody to have an open trading relationship with the continent?