This article was first published in the Daily Express on 30th September 2018. It is available online here.
THE EU thinks that Theresa May’s Chequers plan is a stinker. So far, so normal.
They were never going to agree to everything we wanted straight away.
And the PM is quite right to ask them to come up with a few ideas of their own, instead of just criticising ours.
But we should be doing a bit of thinking of our own.
We must have alternatives, because any negotiation needs give and take. If not Chequers, then what?
That’s where a Canada Plus plan comes in. Forget the fancy wording: the key point is the EU has agreed to pretty much all of it before.
It’s a patchwork quilt of trade deals they’ve already signed with other countries, including Canada.
So we wouldn’t be asking for anything new and it’s miles better than no deal at all.
David Davis had already developed something like this and now the trade experts at the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank have issued their version too.
It would let us sign deals with the rest of the world and give business a clear set of rules for low-friction trading with the EU after we’ve left.
But, most importantly, it would deliver the referendum decision itself, because we’re all democrats.
Negotiations are about finding common ground. That’s what a Canada Plus-type deal would do.