Leaving the EU: Extension Period Negotiations — [Mr Laurence Robertson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:15 am on 22nd May 2019.

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Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke Conservative, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland 10:15 am, 22nd May 2019

There is a bitter irony in that, as my hon. Friend rightly says. It speaks to the choices that we have made, but choices they were—it needs to be recognised and understood that there is nothing inevitable about the situation in which we have placed ourselves.

It is entirely up to us what barriers to impose on imported goods in any scenario. The Government have already said, quite rightly, that in the event that we leave with no deal, we will prioritise maintaining the flow of goods—even at the risk of losing some customs revenue—until long-term arrangements are in place.

Foreign countries and ports have also demonstrated their keenness to co-operate in a no-deal scenario. For example, Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region, said in January that

“the ports of Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk, as well as the Eurotunnel and airports,” will

“have 100 per cent fluidity on day one in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

We need to intensify our preparations, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch and Upminster said, and look at dynamic policy responses. People on Teesside are intrigued and excited by the possibility of a free port, which would really boost our connectivity in the event of our actually getting free of the European Union. These are the things that we need to be doing. These are the choices that we need to be taking. That is the leadership that we need to be showing.