Tobias Ellwood: Brexit isn’t working
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Tory MP Tobias Ellwood called on the Conservative Party to reconsider its economic relations with the European Union amid a rocketing cost-of-living crisis worsened by the mini-budget. Re-joining the EU Single Market would alleviate the tax burden on British businesses, he said. However, he acknowledged the EU has been a dividing line among Tory MPs who are split on the issue, raising questions as to whether a Conservative-led Government would ever consider that option.
When asked if Liz Truss’ Cabinet should consider re-joining the EU single market, Mr Ellwood told Channel 4’s Europe Editor Matt Frei: “You touched on a very toxic issue within the Conservative Party.
“I think what we need to do is recognise what is in Britain’s best interests.
“What is clear is that the economic model that we currently have from Brexit isn’t working as efficiently as it should.”
Mr Ellwood said his offer has sparked a backlash among Tory MPs in the years following the Brexit deal, which the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck after his predecessors failed to do so.
“I offered the suggestion that we reconsider. I looked at how successful that [current Brexit] model is and it isn’t working correctly.
“There’s no way argument to return to the EU but there are different models of Brexit that we now need to pursue.
“But I’m afraid because of Boris Johnson, nobody was willing to touch that.”
However, Mr Ellwood noticed that the UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has struck a positive approach with the EU, signalling a potential return to the negotiating table in Brussels.
“We’re now seeing greater relationship with the EU. We saw that with the Northern Ireland Protocol, with the discussions that are taking place there.
“I hope that could possibly lead to us developing an economic partnership with the EU that would allow four percent GDP – that is the cost of our Brexit at the moment – for us to be reconsidered.
“But again, this is a very sensitive issue for the Conservative Party.”
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In an article for the House parliamentary magazine, Mr Ellwood made the case for re-joining the EU Single Market, arguing that exports to Europe have shrunk by £20billion and that the Northern Ireland Protocol issue would disappear.
In the Single Market, UK businesses would be able to trade with the EU’s 27 member states, unleashing Britain’s economy, he added.
But Conservative heavyweights like the UK’s former chief Brexit negotiator David Frost – who failed to strike a deal with the EU – said Mr Ellwood’s intervention “shows Brexit really is not safe in his hands or his allies”.
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