‘Divergence” was the crucial word at the Conservative Cabinet’s “away day” at Chequers last Thursday. Consensus was seemingly reached by those present on a post-Brexit UK that mirrors EU trade agreements and regulations, and then voluntarily diverges from them when necessary.
If consensus has been reached by the Brexit Cabinet, then complete focus must be shifted to the negotiations. As the Foreign Secretary said in his Valentine’s Day speech, Brexit is a fantastic opportunity for our businesses and economy, but to take full advantage, it requires politicians on both sides of the negotiating table to recognise the economic realities.
I voted to leave nearly two years ago, because I believed then, as I believe now, that British businesses should be free to venture out into the world, unshackled from the customs union. Being free to negotiate trade deals around the world without interference from the EU’s bureaucracy gives us a very clear advantage over our European neighbours.