Oral Question: EFTA Flexibility


John Stevenson: This is a really important debate and I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing it. I completely agree with his point that EFTA is understood by all parties; that is one of its great strengths. Does he agree that its true strength, and the one that could be the basis for our negotiations and unite all parts of the debate, is the fact that it has great flexibility within it?

Stephen Hammond: My hon. Friend is absolutely right that it has great flexibility. That is why I am putting it forward. There is not only one option. I had a chunk in my speech about what one colleague said in response to the question last week from my hon. Friend Antoinette Sandbach, which cited the Switzerland option. Of course, that still allows for bilaterals, and some of those are still available, but there is a panoply of options within the EFTA arrangements.

There is some misconception about whether we would be welcomed back into EFTA, and I make the point that it is not only a flexible arrangement but one we would be welcomed back into.


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