The UK Government’s plan for Brexit is a blueprint for managing the risks that Brexit presents, while allowing us the freedom to seize its best opportunities, as we leave the European Union as one United Kingdom. Under the UK Government’s plan, the whole United Kingdom will leave the Single Market and Customs Union, and take back control of our money, our laws, and our borders.
One of the proposals that the EU has put forward for Brexit has been a free trade agreement along the same lines as the EU’s recent deal with Canada. While this proposal would deliver on the referendum mandate to leave the Single Market and Customs Union, the EU have been clear that this proposal is on offer for Great Britain only, and not Northern Ireland.
As a Scottish Conservative and Unionist, I firmly believe that we must leave the European Union as one United Kingdom; and there must be no border in the Irish Sea, or between any of the nations of our United Kingdom. The EU have been clear that a Canada-style agreement with Great Britain would involve a border in the Irish Sea and Northern Ireland being effectively absorbed into the EU for customs purposes. This is unacceptable.
The UK Government’s proposal of a common rulebook on goods, and a facilitated customs agreement between the UK and the EU, would ensure no border in the Irish Sea, and no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Moreover, this proposal would allow frictionless trade in goods with the EU, which would help British manufacturing companies sell into the EU and maintain important UK-EU supply chains, while still allowing us to strike new trade deals around the world. You may be interested to know that the rulebook on manufactured goods has been broadly settled over a number of decades, and the UK has played a crucial role in shaping these rules over the past 40 years.