European Free Trade Association — [Mike Gapes in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 7th February 2018.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe) 9:30 am, 7th February 2018

I was a bit concerned when the hon. Gentleman referred to pragmatic Brexiteers and pointed at me; I may be pragmatic, but I would certainly not call myself a Brexiteer. I am interested in his suggestion that the UK would be welcomed into EFTA. Can he give us his basis for that? Three expert witnesses appeared before the Exiting the European Union Committee yesterday—I understand three more will appear today—and all of them thought it extremely unlikely that the four EFTA members would want the UK to join, partly because the UK’s population is about four times bigger than the current total population of EFTA, and there would be significant concerns about upsetting the balance of EFTA. What indications has he had from the four Governments of the current EFTA countries that they wait with open arms to welcome the United Kingdom in?