A group of pro-Brexit former Cabinet Ministers have travelled to the US to push for a free trade agreement, writes John Wilkes.
During a recent visit to Washington DC, David Davis, former Brexit Secretary, Owen Paterson, leading Conservative eurosceptic MP and Shanker Singham, Director International Trade Unit, Institute of Economic Affairs, attended a Washington International Trade Association (WITA) seminar where Mr Davis talked about Theresa May’s proposed deal between the UK and EU.
Mr Davis said: “I will do everything in my power to stop it passing through Parliament.”
He was confident ’if the deal is somehow railroaded through,’ there will be ’irreversible consequences’ for Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Mr Davis reinforced his vision of a UK unencumbered by EU regulation and highlighted the benefits for trade agreements between the UK and US.
"If the US and UK can agree a free trade agreement that pulls the UK out of the EU’s regulatory orbit, then this will be enormously beneficial to America’s farmers, businesses and consumers.”
Mr Davis encouraged the Trump administration to actively engage with the UK.
He called for US co-operation in ’this unique moment’ when the UK could ’turn back the tide of anti-competitive laws’.
Mr Davis was dismissive of a Customs Union and continued EU regulatory alignment without the UK having a voice in the proceedings.
In his opinion this constituted ’vassalage’. He said: “No self-respecting state would accept this”.
He believes the Canadian+++ trade agreement with the EU is a good model for the UK to pursue and referenced known legal text to enable this from his time as Brexit Secretary. In his opinion, there was still time to allow the UK Government time to act.
He suggested future US trade agreements with the UK might offer better options than with the EU because this ’eliminates red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy.’
Should the UK and US engage with the EU at the same time, he said, it would help both reach a better understanding with the EU.