Geoffrey Clifton-Brown raises problems of EEA membership which would require free movement of workers

13th June 2018

Speaking in the second day of the debate on the Lords Amendments to the Brexit Bill, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown raises concerns that EEA membership would require free movement of workers from the EU and therefore would consequently mean we would have to restrict workers from the rest of the world.

I accept the sincerity of the views that my hon. Friend is putting across to the House, but does she accept, too, that if we accept the EEA, we will have free movement of workers from the EU, which means that we will have to have restrictions on workers from around the rest of the world?

I am saying that there is a deal to be done. It is absolutely ridiculous to cut down our options, which is what has happened right after these debates. Artificial red lines have been drawn in the sand, reducing our chances of getting a good deal for this country. For that reason, I support the amendment on the customs arrangements. However, I will be abstaining on the EEA vote because I think that it is an issue to which we should return. I want my Prime Minister to go into negotiations knowing the feeling across the House—that we do not want to cut our ties, that we do not want a hard Brexit and that we want a sensible compromise. That is what I believe the majority of both leavers and remainers voted for; they voted for us to leave the political institutions of the EU, but to retain our relationship with it.

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