In significant, if rather unsurprising news, the Prime Minister has signalled that the UK will leave the single market. Currently, the only ways to be a ‘member’ of the single market is to be in the EU or to negotiate membership of the EEA through EFTA. Members of the EEA must contribute to the EU budget and accept the four freedoms – something that the UK is unlikely to want to continue doing. Theresa May said that she will not try to “keep bits of membership”.
It is also likely that the UK will leave the customs union, allowing it to negotiate trade deals with other countries. It is really not surprising whatsoever that May has signalled a UK exit from single market membership. Considering that the UK does not want to accept freedom of movement, would like to negotiate trade deals with third countries, and does not want to contribute to the EU budget, it is the only obvious solution.
This position has been supported by the Labour Party and those in the leave campaign. Big businesses and remain supporters are not altogether convinced. Speaking on the BBC, prominent remain campaigner Anna Soubry MP said that she “didn’t want to rerun the arguments of the campaign” but nevertheless thought that single market membership should still be an option. Vote Leave Chief Executive, Matthew Elliott, responded that those wishing to retain single market membership were absolutely rerunning the arguments of the campaign and should accept that the UK will cease to have membership after Brexit.
Hopefully, this will mean that I no longer have to summarise a plethora of pro- and anti-single market membership views each week. The Prime Minister has spoken: Brexit means Brexit.
This story is from our weekly trade news summary. If you would like to receive this direct to your inbox, along with the latest comment and reports, click here or sign up below:
Before this, he worked for GlaxoSmithKline and as a theatre producer. Thomas enjoys playing cricket, cycling, and reading.