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Brexit: Negotiations and No-deal Contingency Planning - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:51 pm on 4th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Maude of Horsham Lord Maude of Horsham Conservative 6:51 pm, 4th September 2018

My Lords, is it not now clear that, despite the best efforts of my noble friend and his Secretary of State, whom I admire greatly, the Chequers proposal could be agreed only at the expense of further, very substantial concessions extracted under duress, which would lock the UK indefinitely into a highly disadvantageous one-sided arrangement? Is it not now clear that there is a growing and powerful case for the UK to exercise its right to join the European Economic Area, very much as a holding arrangement, so that businesses could have a line of sight for the next few years on how they can trade and invest? That would create a period in which, when emotions have settled, a substantive free-trade agreement could be negotiated with the EU. Would he accept that this argument is most powerful not for those who want to reverse the result of the referendum and prevent Brexit happening but for those who, like myself, believe that it must happen?