Oral Question: EU Exit Negotiation

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John Stevenson: What steps his Department is taking to ensure a flexible approach in the Government’s negotiations on the UK leaving the EU.

David Davis: Both sides in the negotiation are clear about the fact that we want to achieve the best possible outcome and the strongest possible partnership. We have said repeatedly that, to achieve that end, both sides must demonstrate a dynamic and flexible approach to negotiations. In papers published by the Government, for instance, we have made it clear that we stand ready to protect the voting rights of EU nationals living in the UK. There will be give and take as the negotiations progress, but the destination is clear: a deep and special partnership that sees both parties emerge strong and prosperous, capable of projecting our shared values, leading in the world and demonstrating our resolve to protect the security of our citizens.

John Stevenson: Given that a transitional arrangement is likely to be required, and if the Government are to be flexible, a simple solution to consider is an off-the-shelf arrangement with some modifications. Would the Government be willing to consider rejoining the European Free Trade Association and then the European economic area, with suitable and appropriate amendments and modifications?

David Davis: As my hon. Friend will understand—he heard me say this earlier—we considered that in some detail before the Lancaster House speech. We concluded that it did not meet the requirements for which the British people voted and that it would not be as easy to negotiate as an alternative bespoke transitional arrangement might be.

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