Italy is the third biggest country in the EU27 after Germany and France.Its Secretary of State for EU Affairs told me this weekend that we won’t be able to enjoy economic benefits from the EU outside of the single market and the customs union.These discussions lead me to one conclusion: Conservative ministers are deliberately deceiving the British people on the Brexit negotiations.I have no problem with the Government being ambitious and wanting to get the best deal for Britain – we all share that goal.Also don’t think of it as a forever change, far too daunting.Just think ‘OK, I’m going to start doing this for now’.” Sheila’s best bit was: “Remember that your year can start any time you choose.” So, if you are struggling, just reset the year and start again!
Notwithstanding this, Theresa May has dictated that we have to leave both, despite putting this front and centre of her 2017 general election campaign and losing her majority as a result.
Yet UK ministers keep insisting otherwise Last week I visited the European Commission and the European Council in Brussels.
I’ve also been meeting ambassadors from the 27 other member states of the European Union (the “EU27”) and have discussed Brexit with a number of senior British civil servants.
For example, Norway has already warned that giving into UK demands for a special trade deal allowing different UK sectors to participate in the single market without being part of it would force Norway to rip up its own agreement with the EU.
Any post-Brexit trade agreement we secure with the EU will need to substantially cover services which make up 80 per cent of the EU economy.