Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of European Union Referendum Bill – in the House of Lords at 8:49 pm on 2 November 2015.

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Photo of Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Crossbench 8:49, 2 November 2015

I had assumed that the principal interest of the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton, was making sure that we managed, as some sort of country member or associate, to remain within the single market. The Koreans have no such rights. They have a very good free trade agreement, which is greatly in the UK’s interest, and has produced a considerable increase in UK exports to South Korea.

There is no doubt that the UK could secure a free trade agreement with the EU. That is not an issue. But if we want access to the single market, we need more than a free trade agreement. That is why the Norwegians are in what is known as EFTA and the EEA and why they are complaining about their relations with the EU.

The noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, told us that nobody in Norway wants to join the EU. Actually, the entire Norwegian establishment would like to join the EU but has not, as yet, managed to persuade the Norwegian public of that.