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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:39 am on 7th February 2018.

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Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk 10:39 am, 7th February 2018

What the hon. Gentleman talks about as a transition is not really a transition; it is an extension of existing membership, and there is no point in trying to deny that. EFTA can be a transition in this sense—that we go into it, as others have said, as a safe harbour. However, he seems to be ruling out the idea that, once we are in EFTA, there would ever be any further change, when it would clearly be in our national interest to look at how we might, for example, strengthen co-decision making or consider divergence within parts of the single market. The point is getting to a safe position to do that. That is what a transition is—not an extension of our existing membership.