Douglas Carswell

21 SEP 2016

Why Britain needs to leave the single market

So much of the media debate about Brexit seems to focus on whether the EU will give Britain permission to keep trading with it. Isn't it just as important that, after we leave, we won't need the EU's permission for the rest of our trade?

Of course we want to keep trading with the EU – and, like so many other non-EU countries around the world, we will. Britain doesn't need to be a member of the single market to have access to the single market.

Take EU passporting rights for financial services, for instance. Pundits tell us our banks can't trade in the EU without them, so we mustn't leave the single market.

But that's simply not true.

New EU financial rules (MiFID II and MiFIR) will allow firms in foreign jurisdictions with equivalent financial regulations to the EU to trade in the single market.

The UK's financial regulations aren't just equivalent to the EU's. They're identical. So there's no reason why British banks should lose their trading rights (as Moody's and DLA Piper agree).

In any case, as the Bank of England acknowledges, more EU firms use the current passporting system to trade in the UK than British firms use it to trade in Europe. Is the EU going to hurt its own banks just to spite us?

Surely, though, there's a bigger point here than just our trade with the EU. Yes, British firms that want to export to the EU will still have to abide by its rules post-Brexit. But they make up only 6% of all the companies in the UK.

What about the rest?

Brexit allows us to set the other 94% free from single-market rules. Rules that, according to Open Europe's estimates, cost British industry £600 million a week. Rules like the Clinical Trials Directive, which has kneecapped a whole industry.

Instead of worrying about how to comply with Brussels' burdensome bureaucracy, shouldn't we be looking forward to taking back control of our laws?

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