Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
I thank my right hon. Friend for his statement. I do not know whether he heard me, but I was cheering the contribution by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), because I agree that we should have a transition period that includes our remaining a member of the single market and the customs union. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] Ah, yet again we hear cheers in support of that notion from right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition Benches, but does my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State agree that that is not the policy of the Labour party? In a radio interview yesterday, the hon. Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner) explained that Labour’s policy would be to negotiate a customs union with the EU by way of a transitional period. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that that is exactly the Government’s policy?
My right hon. Friend makes a good point, and she is right that the Labour party is incredibly confused about what its policy is. The approach we are taking is simple: we want a customs agreement that goes with a free trade agreement. Those two things together are designed to deliver frictionless free trade. We want not only to protect the jobs and the economy, about which she is quite right to be concerned, but to be able to trade with the rest of the world, which is where the maximum growth is.