The EU single market allows for free movement of goods, people, services and capital between EU member countries and nations within the European Economic Area such as Norway and Iceland. The UK’s decision to leave the EU meant that following the Brexit transition period the UK would no longer be in the EU single market. But Northern Ireland remained to prevent a hard border from being created with the Republic of Ireland.
Lord Daniel Hannan claims that Britain would have been better off remaining in the single market.
Lord Hannan, an adviser to the Board of Trade, said staying in the single market would have saved a “lot of trouble”.
Writing in The Telegraph last week he said: “We should have stayed in the single market, but rejoining it now would be madness.
“Leaving the market was an upheaval, but it was the chance to deregulate. Instead, ministers are retaining rules we once fought to repeal.”
However, Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said last week that the UK should rejoin the single market to help ease the cost of living crisis.
He claimed there is an “appetite” to make “course corrections” to Brexit, highlighting recent polling which suggests “this is not what most people imagined”.
The chair of the Commons Defence Committee has urged the Government to reconsider a Norway-style agreement with the EU to allow access to the single market through the European Economic Area.
Mr Ellwood said that challenges concerning the Northern Ireland Protocol and shrinking exports to Europe would “disappear” by rejoining the single market.
Speaking to Times Radio on Thursday, June 2, he said: “Joining that single market, I believe, would strengthen our economy because it would remove so much red tape, it would ease the cost-of-living crisis, it would actually settle the difficult Irish problem on the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
He added: “It’s also to do with boosting our European credentials.”
However, several Tory colleagues shut down the idea of rejoining the EU single market.
Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said: “Let’s plan for the future and stop looking back. This decision is made.”
Former chief whip Mark Harper added: “The UK voted to leave the EU. That meant leaving the single market and putting an end to freedom of movement. The end.”
So what do YOU think? Was leaving the single market a mistake? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comment section below.