Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:46 pm on 1st April 2019.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee, Chair, Education Committee 7:46 pm, 1st April 2019

My hon. Friend is right, though of course hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Under common market 2.0, the UK would regain its seat at global bodies such as the WTO and so be able to shape the global standards that are the basis for many EU and EEA laws. As an EFTA member, we would take back control over immigration. Article 112 of the EEA agreement gives us important safeguards that would allow us to “unilaterally take appropriate measures”. Article 28(3) would allow us to apply brakes

“on grounds of public policy, security or health”.

We would also be able to do our own trade deals outside of the EU—EFTA states have 27 deals with 43 other countries.

Common market 2.0 is also a workers’ Brexit that would allow us to keep the high standard of workers’ rights on annual leave, equal pay, maternity and parental leave and many other things, and we would be aligned with the single market, which would safeguard our economy, businesses and jobs. It would also be a no-backstop Brexit because it could be negotiated before the end of the transition period, meaning that the backstop would never need to be activated. The former President of the Court of Justice of the European Free Trade Association States, Carl Baudenbacher, said in an interview that a Norway-style deal could solve our issues relating to the backstop. There would also be no backstop because we would mirror customs union arrangements until the frictionless border problem was solved.

Common market 2.0 is a unifying Brexit. It brings together the support of remainers and leavers across the parties, from my hon. Friend George Eustice to my hon. Friend Andrew Percy and the hon. Members for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell) and for Aberavon (Stephen Kinnock). A report produced by King’s College London about changing attitudes to Brexit shows that the most popular option is a Norway-style deal, and it is gaining traction. Since 2017, support for EFTA has increased to 43%. Among leave voters, 34% opted for the EEA option in 2018, up from 24% in 2017. In the past, it has been supported by many of the principal Eurosceptics,