On Wednesday at Prime Ministers Questions, the MP for Chichester, Gillian Keegan asked a valuable question that succinctly explains why our industrial heritage and contemporary economy will collapse if we end up with a hard Brexit. Despite the rather half hearted response from the Prime Minister it is clear, if we do not achieve a good Brexit deal, as a nation it would be better for MPs and the Government to explain that leaving will be a major mistake, even though it will upset around 17m people. By the same token it would delight 16m people who voted to remain and there will be around 11m people who did not vote in any case. This is not an outright rejection of the vote to leave, it is merely making it clear that leaving is not achievable without destroying our economy. Clearly such a statement should be referenced to how people now think, and if this needs to be achieved through an referendum then so be it. So on to the question and answer:
GK: All Rolls-Royce motorcars—an iconic global brand—are made in my constituency. Every day, 150 trucks arrive from Europe to supply BMW plants, and 120 trucks leave the UK headed for Europe. We are the only serious party of business, so can the Prime Minister give some certainty and confidence to the largest employer in my constituency and businesses up and down the country that they can continue their seamless operating model as we leave the EU?
The few words in bold are the only words I disagree with. Firstly there are more than two political parties in the UK, even if Labour is more focused on workers than on business owners and secondly the Tories are completely cack handed when it comes to providing policies to help businesses grow and expand the economy. The only reason why Gillian could be suggesting this is that many more of her colleagues, than those under Labour have directorships whilst going through the motions of being MPs and many more businesess fund the Tories than Labour. As someone involved in a small business, I would argue the very opposite of this inaccurate comment. Finally in the light of the words from Boris Johnson who stated F*ck Business in his attempt to win an argument with Brussels based negotiators, it is clear that Gillian is mistaken.
TM: My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise that issue. Obviously Rolls-Royce plays a very important role in her constituency, but also in our country. It is an iconic brand for our country. We want to have the greatest possible tariff-free and frictionless trade with the European Union. That is what we are working on. At the same time, we want to ensure that we can negotiate other trade deals around the rest of the world. We want UK companies to have the maximum freedom to be able to continue to trade with and operate within European markets, while letting European businesses do the same here in the UK, but we also want to encourage our excellent, iconic businesses to have better opportunities to trade around the rest of the world.
The truth is that trade with the rest of the world already takes place and has done so for decades. To argue that the EU has acted as a barrier is a mistake, inevitably our need to retain the connection with the EU as we engage with other nations, but that will continue to be the case. To risk losing all the trade deals with over 55% of our trading partners in the hope of some modest improvements in our access to the other 45% is a clear and unmitigated mistake. Gillian Keegan clearly understands that and so do most businesses.