Leading Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson have backed an alternative to Theresa May’s proposal
Oliver Wright, Policy Editor
September 25 2018, 12:01am
A Canada-style trade deal would enable Britain to dump “anti-competitive” European Union laws and embrace the “opportunities” of Brexit, senior Conservatives said yesterday.
Setting out an alternative to Theresa May’s Chequers plan, leading Brexiteers backed a report that called for the EU to have no say over British laws on the environment, food standards and workers’ rights. They instead called for Britain to strike free-trade deals with countries such as the United States by opening up its markets to exports currently banned by the EU.
The report, by the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), was given the backing of both David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, and Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary.
It calls for the government to drop the proposal made at Chequers to maintain close regulatory alignment with the EU and instead sign a more limited trade deal with the bloc.
Such a deal would be similar to the Canada trade deal concluded last year and would enable Britain to escape EU rules on environmental, social, data and food safety legislation.
Brussels has claimed that without agreeing to abide by such rules, British access to EU markets would be severely restricted. The report says that new deals with countries such as America, India and parts of Asia could offset any losses. It also argues that if Britain began trade talks with the EU while concurrently negotiating with other countries it could leverage one side against the other.