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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:02 am on 7th February 2018.

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Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South 10:02 am, 7th February 2018

My hon. Friend hits the nail on the head. This Government are not looking at the best possible option for exiting the European Union. They are trying to resolve a decades-long problem in their own party, which is now raising its ugly head again, as we have seen in the newspapers in the last few weeks. I firmly believe that many senior members of the Government and influential Members on the Government Back Benches would rather see the UK fall off a cliff, to achieve their ideological goals and take control of their own party, than do what is in the best interest of the country.

I will wrap up, because I am aware others want to speak. EFTA is the ninth largest trading partner in the world in goods and the seventh largest in services. It is the third largest trading partner with the EU in goods and the second largest in services. If that deal was put on the table to the United Kingdom by Michel Barnier today, we should bite his hand off to take it. It is on the table, it is here and it is ready made. The Government would be committing a massive dereliction of duty if they did not at least consider the option of staying in EFTA.