David Davis responds to the Prime Minister’s EU renegotiation


This morning, responding to the Prime Minister’s comments on his EU renegotiation, David Davis said:

“The referendum campaign has started, and right from the off the Prime Minister has fallen back on “Project Fear”. He has proclaimed that we cannot have a free trade deal with Europe without free movement of people.


Firstly, after the “negotiation” of the last few months, in which the government exhibited pitifully low ambition, and accordingly achieved a pitifully inadequate outcome, we have to question the extent to which the government machine has any grasp of how to run a negotiation with Europe. We should certainly not allow the architects of that strategy to dictate the limits of what we can or cannot achieve.

Secondly everybody should understand that the future relationship with Europe will be unique, because in all the critical respects the United Kingdom is unique. Post Brexit it would be the EU’s biggest market. It provides the highest growth market in Europe for cars. Cars and agriculture are the two industries that would be hit by any insistence by the EU on World Trade Organisation conditions, and in both cases the losers will be continental countries. Critically the biggest loser on cars will be Germany, the most powerful and pivotal country in the EU. The idea that they are going to deny a deal is laughable.

Similarly laughable are the scare stories on security. Britain is unique in this regard too. We have the most effective intelligence services and armed forces in Europe. It is inconceivable that European leaders would not want the closest possible cooperation with us over dealing with terrorism. Note, cooperation, not subordination: we can do that without giving over any powers to Brussels, and a a result enhance our security, not undermine it.

Thirdly, the Prime Minister asserts that no other country has access to the European market without giving reciprocal free movement of peoples. There are numerous examples of free trade agreements with non EU countries which have no immigration requirements whatsoever.

Finally, we are told that the removal of “ever closer union” protects us from integrationist measures. The supposed examples given are keeping us out of the Euro and Schengen. Both of those were negotiated by John Major twenty years ago and there has been no suggestion since that we can be forced to join them. No other example is offered, for a good reason. There are none.”