Agreement on future of UK relationship with EU comes before transition arrangements.

5th September 2017

Iain Duncan Smith highlights the importance of securing an agreement on future of UK relations with EU comes before discussion about transition arrangements.

I urge my right hon. Friend not to accept the advice of the Opposition party, which only six weeks ago was in favour of leaving the customs union and the single market, only to reverse that position today; he should stay steady on the course of the Government. On transition and implementation deals, over which the Opposition have got very excited, may I remind him of one simple fact: you cannot have any discussion about transition or implementation until you know what you are transitioning to? Thus the agreement over what we get with the European Union comes before any discussion about transition deals.

I take my right hon. Friend’s point about the Labour party. I was being quite kindly to my opposite number, the shadow Brexit Secretary—after all, I only have to negotiate with Brussels, whereas he has to negotiate with his entire Front Bench! My right hon. Friend is right to say that we have to know where the endgame will be—where the end position will be—in order to get an accurate description of the implementation and transition period. I will differ from him on one point: that does not mean that we should not make it clear up front that we intend to have some sort of implementation period, where it is necessary—only where it is necessary.

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