Former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has warned Britain not to jeopardise existing key trade deals with neighbouring countries France and Germany when negotiating new post-Brexit deals outside of the EU.
The Conservative MP who was against Brexit, says any potential new trade deals with the likes of Australia, the US and China, should not be scrapped or “come at a price” and the UK should not give up free trade arrangements inside Europe.
He does favour investigating new deals further afield, but says not to the detriment of central trading partners.
“You can’t say that we’re a beacon of free trade in the world and the main thing that you achieve is a huge act of protectionism, the biggest in British history,” told the BBCs Andrew Marr programme.
“When we come to these key questions, the customs union, the single market, the EEA, there are a variety of arrangements that we can have. Other countries, from Switzerland to Norway to Turkey, have different relationships with the EU.
“We should do this on the basis of a hardheaded assessment of what is in our national and economic interest. It’s true, the grass may be greener outside of those arrangements and we may be able to conduct new free trade deals with Australia, the US and so on, but that shouldn’t come at a price of giving up the existing free trade arrangements we have with Germany and France.”
The MP for Tatton and former member of cabinet under David Cameron, also said Parliament must be allowed to know and debate the details for post-Brexit plans, including trade deals.
“I’m a massive fan of trade deals with Australia and I want to do trade deals with China, quite controversial in this country and will prove to be as will so many of these trade deals when they come to Parliament. But there is no point saying that you want all of that trade but you don’t want to do the trade we already do with countries like Germany and France which are, of course, absolutely central trading partners.”