• It’s concerning that shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer has suggested that the option of remaining a member of the EU’s customs union and single market should be ‘back on the table’ (Express, December 2017, link).
  • Sir Keir should remember that last June the British public voted to take back control of our laws, borders, money and trade. This means leaving the Single Market. Politicians must respect this mandate from the referendum.
  • On top of this, both sides of the referendum debate made clear that a vote to leave the EU was a vote to leave the Single Market.
  • The Labour manifesto pledged to end free movement, and indeed many in Labour heartlands voted to leave the EU because they wanted to take back control of our borders and stop sending billions of pounds to Brussels. Both can only be done by leaving the Single Market.
  • We should also remember that Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner wrote in July this year that membership of the EU’s customs union after Brexit would be ‘deeply unattractive’ (Guardian, July 2017, link).

UK must have power to set its own regulations after Brexit

  • There are reports that some Cabinet ministers are pushing for a ‘softer Brexit’ where the UK will align its regulatory system with the EU.
  • Brexit Secretary David Davis aimed to assure MPs that ‘alignment isn’t harmonisation, it isn’t having exactly the same rules, it’s sometimes having mutually recognised rules, mutually recognised inspection’.
  • It’s vital that after we leave the EU, politicians in the UK can shape rules which suit the needs of British business. Currently, 100% of UK firms have to comply with Brussels regulations, yet only 6% export to the EU.
  • We must also be able to strengthen standards where we see fit, such as the plans outlined by Michael Gove on animal welfare.

Good economic news

  • GSK has announced plans to invest £40m in Britain’s life sciences sector. GSK's investment will expand its efforts to generate genetic sequencing data from UK Biobank, a huge, long-term study of genes (CityAM, December 2017, link).