European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Leaving the EU – in the House of Commons at 7:12 pm on 14th January 2019.

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Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade 7:12 pm, 14th January 2019

I am glad to say that the one thing that I can honestly claim I have no responsibility for are the words of the right hon. Gentleman.

When listening to some of the more extreme proponents of Brexit, it has often amused me to hear them say that trading with the European Union on World Trade Organisation terms would not be the slightest problem for us; in the same breath, they insist that to achieve our destiny we cannot possibly trade on WTO terms with the United States—and that that is why we need to break free from the EU.

The simple truth is this—I hope it answers the right hon. Gentleman’s question: it makes good sense to have good trade agreements with everyone, but to have the best trade agreements with our closest trading partners. For us, that is the EU, with which we do 53% of our trade and which takes 44% of our exports.