Michael Gove warns Theresa May against ‘fake Brexit’

Posted On: 
9th January 2017

Britain must not settle for a “fake Brexit” by remaining members of the single market and the customs union, Michael Gove has told Theresa May.

Former justice secretary Michael Gove
PA Images

The former Cabinet minister today urged the Prime Minister to pursue a “full” Brexit, arguing Britain would be “trapped” if it retains parts of EU membership. 

It comes after Mrs May yesterday gave a further hint that she would seek what campaigners describe as a Hard Brexit, with the UK leaving both the singe market and the customs union.

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In her first broadcast interview of 2017, she said Britain would not try to keep "bits" of its current EU membership, saying the “question is what is the right relationship for the UK to have with the European Union when we’re outside”.

Writing for BrexitCentral, Mr Gove mapped out his views. “We need to deliver a full Brexit, not settle for fake Brexit,” he wrote.

“Once Article 50 is triggered, we should be very clear about our simple, straightforward, generous approach to leaving.

“We don’t want or need to be in the single market – outside we can control our own borders, laws and taxes. Inside we’re trapped.

“We don’t want to be bound by being members of the customs union. Outside we can negotiate new trade deals with emerging economies. Inside we’re trapped.

“And we don’t need to waste months talking about new tariffs. We don’t have any at the moment with Europe, we don’t want to impose any and attempts to over-complicate the issue are a trap.”

Meanwhile research from Civitas claimed that even if Britain failed to get a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU and had to operate under World Trade Organisation rules, it would not lose out.

The thinktank said a package, worth £8.8bn, could be needed to provide support for research and development, a programme of regional aid and discretionary grants to firms adapting to the new trading terms.

But the report argues that the cost of the package would be paid for from the £12.9bn collected in tariffs on EU imports into the UK, should Britain have to revert to WTO rules without a fresh trade deal with the bloc.