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Leaving without a Deal

Volume 628: debated on Thursday 7 September 2017

5. What recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) the economy and (b) employment levels of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. (900643)

A future partnership between the UK and the EU is in the interests of both sides, and I am confident that we will secure a good deal for the UK as a whole. A responsible Government, however, should prepare for all potential outcomes, including the unlikely scenario in which no mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. The Government are undertaking a comprehensive programme of analytical work across a range of scenarios to assess the economic impacts of exiting the EU. As the House has agreed twice, however, we will not be publishing any information that would prejudice our negotiations.

The CBI president, Paul Drechsler, has said that the implications of falling back on to World Trade Organisation rules and a no-deal scenario would open up a

“Pandora’s box of economic consequences”

and that the UK could face tariffs on 90% of its EU exports by value. Will the Minister reassure business, therefore, that the UK will not walk away from these negotiations with no deal?

It is our intention to do what is in all our interests—the mutual interest of all the nations of the EU and the UK—which is to secure a deep and special partnership, including a broad and deep free trade agreement, and I look forward to doing so. I think, however, that the WTO is one of the great achievements of liberalism against the forces of economic nationalism, and I look forward, in whatever circumstances we leave, to the UK playing the fullest part in the improvement and development of the WTO.

I thought that the hon. Gentleman was about to refer to Ludwig von Mises, but no doubt that awaits another of his answers in due course.

I agree with my right hon. Friend and refer him to what the Chancellor famously said on “Marr”: what we cannot do is accept some kind of punishment deal. An environment in which the UK trades with the world while having control of our own tariffs, taxes and domestic regulation is one of which we should not be afraid.

Does it remain Ministers’ ambition to secure barrier-free access for the UK to the European single market, and is not the only way to enjoy the benefits of the single market to comply with the rules of the single market?

We recognise that the freedoms of the single market are indivisible and that the people of this country wish for Parliament to set its own laws and for a UK migration policy that meets with their democratic consent. It is the ambition of Ministers to secure trade with the absolute minimum of frictions, and I hope and look forward to doing so.

19. The potential of not having a deal raises the issue again of a transition, and the Secretary of State said earlier he thought that there were very good prospects on that point. Given that the purpose of a transition is to give certainty to business, is not the only logical timeframe for a transition one that runs from when we leave to when a new comprehensive deal is signed? (900661)

The Government have agreed that the country would benefit from a period of implementation, but how that works and the destination to which we will be heading remain matters for negotiation.