Grantham

Nick Boles: UK needs ‘sensible’ transition out of EU to negotiate free trade agreement

Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles has said that he would favour a three-year transition period for the UK once the Brexit negotiations have finished with the European Union.

The Conservative, who backed Remain but has accepted the result of the referendum, said that this temporary period would see the UK temporarily remain in the single market, contributing to the EU budget and accepting freedom of movement.

By 2022, with a free trade agreement signed with the EU, the UK would then theoretically leave the European Economic Area.

The former skills minister, who this year has successfully battled cancer for the second time, said it was important businesses and investors were given enough time to acclimatise to Brexit.

He said: “I favour a three-year transition, starting in March 2019, in which we join the European Free Trade Association and become temporary members of the European Economic Area like Norway.

“For those three years we would be outside the EU but in the single market, paying a contribution to the EU and accepting some version of freedom of movement.

“These would all be temporary concessions buying us enough time to negotiate the detail of the new free trade agreement and other aspects of our long term partnership.

“In March 2022, before the next election, we would leave the European Economic Area and start our new life as a fully independent nation, in control of our money, our borders and our laws.

“Leaving the EU is an enormous undertaking, the biggest since World War Two. It’s worth taking time to get it right so we can deliver the prosperous future that the British people want to see.”