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 Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Conservative, Wimbledon 9:30 am, 7th February 2018

I of course agree with the hon. Gentleman. I am about to make exactly those points, because it is important that they are made loud and clear. As he will know and will have observed, I have spent a lot of time in the Chamber over the last two years making the case for services, which is one of our biggest tax generators. The public services that we all enjoy will not be able to be funded in the same way if we do not protect those services. As he will have wanted to point out, the EFTA arrangement covers services in many cases, whereas CETA, for instance, does not. That is a clear issue that the Government will have to confront.

The EFTA-EEA framework is motivated purely by the economy and not the pursuit of a political objective such as ever closer union. It is crucial that people remember that. The EEA would give the UK the same access to the single market as it has now for most goods and services. It is an off-the-shelf, already tested model that would provide businesses and our citizens with the most certainty that we can give them as we leave the EU. Yes, we would be subject to EEA regulation, but as my right hon. Friend Dame Caroline Spelman pointed out, it does not cover the controversial common agricultural and common fisheries policies or justice and home affairs. From the outset—to allay the concerns of some of my hon. Friends—we would have control of those policy areas.