Iain Duncan Smith tells British businesses they will have to ‘learn to get by’ after Brexit

Posted On: 
18th December 2017

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has told British businesses they will have to “learn to get by” after Brexit. 

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has said British businesses must 'learn to get by' after Brexit

The arch Eurosceptic warned firms that have expressed reticence over Brexit that they must embrace the new economic landscape when the UK leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning he said: “I don't buy this idea of a fixed position in the world, it's not the case of less trade, it's a case of a different type of trade and British business will have to learn, as they do, to get by in a different world…

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“My general view - and I think the view of a lot of economists - is on balance we should be able to make the maximum benefit. After all, financial services for the UK is mostly non-EU trade and I think it would enormously benefit them if we were to get rid of some of those internal barriers.”

Mr Duncan Smith also conceded that a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU would require compromise.      

“We want to have the freest, most frictionless trade that we can and that means there will be trade-offs in all of that, of course there will be because that's what we're doing. We're leaving and we won't influence their future trade fixtures, their regulations,” he said.

The intervention comes after the Prime Minister secured a Brexit breakthrough at last week’s European Council, enabling talks with EU negotiators to move onto trade in the new year.

Today Mrs May will chair a 'Brexit Cabinet' to discuss the Government’s position on a future EU trade deal with senior ministers.

After meeting senior colleagues, Mrs May is expected to tell the Commons that both the UK and EU want to see a "smooth implementation period" after Brexit day in March 2019.

She will tell MPs that the UK does not intend to stay in the single market or customs union during that two-year transition, but "would propose that our access to one another's markets would continue as now".

But her position is at odds with the EU's guidelines, which state that "the United Kingdom will continue to participate in the Customs Union and the Single Market" during the transition, which would mean the continuation of free movement of people until 2021 at the earliest. 

However, Brussels chief negotiator Michel Barnier has reiterated that the UK will not be able to "cherry pick" which aspects of EU membership it wants to retain after leaving the bloc.