John Baron MP questions Brexit Secretary on trade negotiations

September 19, 2016
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MP also raises new immigration system

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Rt Hon David Davis MP, recently appeared before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. John Baron MP has been a member of the Committee since 2010.

John asked,

“Many of us believe that if access to single market cannot be gained on terms that are reasonable to both sides, we should not be afraid to fall back on WTO rules and tariffs. Does that hold any fear for you, as we enter these negotiations?”

The Secretary of State replied,

“I think it is a very bad idea to go into negotiation fearing any of the outcomes, because that weakens you in one respect or another. We will assess not just the costs of a given stratagem, but also what the policies are that go with it. People might say, ‘It is going to cost this, or cost that.’ They have not necessarily taken on board what we might to do to mitigate the costs. I see nothing to fear in any outcome.”

John also asked,

“For many of those who voted out, one of the key reasons was that we had an immigration system that was actually discriminatory. It discriminated against the rest of the world outside the EU, and what was wanted was fairness. Whatever the criteria are that will guide the policy going forward, it has to be fair. Is that the sense of the position within Government, as you see it from where you are sitting?

The Secretary of State replied,

“My job is to get the powers back, to respect the judgment of the British people in the referendum—which I tend to think of as a triptych of control of laws, control of borders, control of money—and to respect that as much as we can in the negotiation, as we will.”

John then asked,

“The subtlety of that position is that if you adhere to the principle of fairness, whatever the criteria used, you effectively divorce immigration and free movement from the trade negotiations, because you can offer nothing special to the EU as such.”

The Secretary of State replied,

“The Prime Minister has made it very plain that the current system cannot be allowed to stand. She said we are not going to have free movement as it now is, and she has talked about control of the borders. So I do not think there is any doubt about the priority we have put on this, and I do not think our European partners would have any doubt themselves about the priority we put on it.”

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