Brexit: EU will have to deal with UK on trade, even under WTO rules

24th October 2017

Speaking in an Adjournment debate on leaving the EU, Iain Duncan Smith says that even without a specialist free trade deal, there is still a deal to be done under WTO rules that may, in a sense, subsequently include free trade.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. With all this talk about the Government speaking with different voices, let me remind the House that Germany does not have a Government yet, Spain is in total chaos, the Netherlands has only just managed to get a Government and Mr Juncker seems to spend an awful lot of time in bars getting 28 pints of beer and not being able to figure out who is with him. Also, they are all now giving out separate messages about what their future relationship with the UK would be. Does that sound like speaking with one voice?

As ever, my right hon. Friend makes a powerful point.

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Does my hon. Friend agree that we should not persist with the idea of a “deal or no deal” scenario? These are simple variations of a deal. The reality is that a free trade deal may or may not be secured, but there is a deal to be done under WTO rules that may, in a sense, subsequently include free trade, but not be a specialist free trade deal. Can we stop talking about no deal and start talking about a deal that the European Union will have to meet with the UK?

I am grateful for the clarity with which my right hon. Friend makes his point, but I hope he will not mind if I say that, in the time available, I perhaps ought to leave that particular point for a debate on the negotiation, if such a thing were to arise.

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