Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:02 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 4:02 pm, 27th March 2019

I will not give way to my fellow collaborator on revoking.

I will support common market 2.0 and anything that resembles it, though I will not dwell on it further, as I have already dealt with it. I come then to my motion (J). As I have already indicated, it is not my first preference—the two I have already named are my preferences—but it is tabled to maximise support in the House so that we can move on Monday towards our really taking control and actually putting the Government, though they do not accept it, in a much stronger position than they are today when it comes to the future negotiations.

Motion (J) advocates a customs union only—a permanent customs union, I point out to Liz Kendall, who intervened earlier on this point—and would keep the minimum needed for frictionless trade and an open border in Ireland. We would also need some understanding or moves on regulatory convergence, but that does not need to be dealt with at this stage. If we start with the premise that we will be permanently in a customs union, it would bring greater clarity to the next stage—the really important stage—of the negotiations. I think that every other EU member state would be ready to accede to that, and it would improve the climate of the negotiations.

The motion is designed to appeal in particular to Labour Members who are demanding it and to my more cautious right hon. and hon. Friends in the Conservative party. Those who have hang-ups about rule-making and use medieval language about vassal states and all the rest of it are talking about the single market. Motion (J) does not include the single market. The customs union guarantees a reasonably frictionless relationship and the possibility of completely open trade in the future, and leaves all the other things to be decided in the negotiations.