On the day that the cross-party Norway Plus Group of MPs published a major report advocating ‘Common Market 2.0’ – a plan to reset the UK-Europe relationship for the 21st Century, I set out why this is an alternative Brexit plan.
Stephen Kinnock: The Secretary of State continually says that there is no alternative plan, but in fact my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell) and his colleague the right hon. Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon) have produced “Common Market 2.0”, which sets out how we can leave the EU and join the European Economic Area. It is a Brexit that deals with concerns about free movement and the backstop and has a real chance of reuniting our deeply divided country. Will the Secretary of State take the time to read this document and perhaps come back to us with his views?
Stephen Barclay: I know the hon. Gentleman looks at these issues in detail and very seriously and I very much respect that. I have looked at the report to which he refers and the work of my right hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon) on this, but the reality is that there is an inherent contradiction in respecting the referendum result and suggesting that we can cherry pick from the four freedoms that the EU has always been clear cannot be divided. The reality is that the Norway option does not give us what is needed. There is Norway or Norway plus, but the reality is that Norway has a population of 5 million and much of what is done in terms of rule taking for Norway is not suitable for the UK in areas including financial services. There is also an inherent contradiction in what was committed to in the manifestos of the hon. Gentleman’s party and my own, and delivering on the referendum result.