Iain Duncan Smith calls on EU to engage with UK on setting up a free trade arrangement before March 2019

9th October 2017

Iain Duncan Smith welcomes the Prime Minister's statement to the House of Commons on Britain's future economic and security relationships with the European Union and calls on the EU to engage with the UK to negotiate an ongoing free trade arrangement, to be completed by March 2019.

I warmly welcome the statement by my right hon. Friend and very good friend, our Prime Minister, on her plans for the negotiations. May I press her and ask her to elaborate a little further? In her statement, she made it clear that the ball was back in the EU’s court. Is it not reasonable to expect that, given all the negotiations and discussions and the progress that has been made, the EU should now engage the United Kingdom on something that is beneficial to it and us—namely, an ongoing free trade arrangement, to be completed by March 2019?

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right, and we see increasing interest in moving on to talk about that issue. That will absolutely be, as he says, not just in our interests but in the interests of the European Union; that is what is right for us both. We want the matter to be negotiated by March 2019, so that the UK comes out of the European Union knowing what the new partnership and trade agreement will be.