No Brexit deal would be a disaster for Germany, says Shropshire MP
A Shropshire MP has warned that any attempts to punish Britain for leaving the EU could lead to widespread job losses in mainland Europe.
Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, warned that the German car industry would be particularly vulnerable if the EU chose to impose punitive tariffs on British exports.
Speaking in a parliamentary debate on progress in the EU exit negotiations, Mr Paterson told the Commons it was time that Britain's trading partners woke up to the consequences of failing to agree a mutually beneficial trade deal.
He said a new report estimated that should we move to a tariff regime, the German motor car industry alone could lose between 8,600 and 29,400 jobs.
"It is massively in the interests of the UK and our 27 partners that we establish reciprocal free trade based on a recognition of conformity of standards," said Mr Paterson.
"When are our partners going to recognise that it is massively in their interests that we establish reciprocal free trade and start talking about our end trading relationship?"
During the debate on Wednesday, Brexit Secretary David Davis updated MPs on progress that had been made during the five rounds of talks about the terms of the exit with EU negotiator Michel Barnier.
Mr Barnier is due to meet with the European Council today and tomorrow to discuss whether sufficient progress has been made for the negotiations to be extended to cover post-Brexit trade.
Mr Barnier last week said he did not feel that enough progress had been made. But Mr Davis said he hoped EU leaders would give Mr Barnier a mandate to start trade talks and to "build on the spirit of co-operation we now have".
Mr Davis said Mr Paterson was right to make the point that it was in the interests of other EU states to agree a favourable trade deal with the UK.
But he said the EU was using the negotiations to wring more money out of the UK.
"Of course it is absolutely in everybody’s interest that we have an outcome that encourages free trade in all directions, across the EU and with us," said Mr Davis.
"The simple truth is that we are in a negotiation and they are using time pressure to see whether they can get more money out of us—that is what is going on, as is obvious to anybody.
"That will take some time, but I am sure we will get there in time to get a decent outcome for everybody.
"There are massive interests for the EU in getting a deal, and that is what will happen."
Pat McFadden, the Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, likened the negotiations to planes waiting for a runway slot at Heathrow airport.
"The planes go round and round but never actually move forward," he said.
Mr McFadden said failure so strike a trade deal with the EU could result in families being left between £250 and £500 a year worse off, with the burden heaviest in the Midlands and the north.
"Is he relaxed about that kind of additional burden on hard-working families?," he asked.
Mr Davis said such claims were little more than scaremongering.
"If I thought it reflected the reality, I would not be relaxed about it, but the simple truth is that it does not," he said.
"It does not reflect the effect of free trade and the free trade deals, and it does not reflect what we would have to do in those circumstances."
Dr Andrew Murrison, chairman of the Northern Ireland affairs select committee, asked Mr Davis how much progress had been made in discussing the question of the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Mr Davis said it would be difficult to come up with a solution to matters surrounding the border with the Republic of Ireland until questions surrounding the rest of the UK borders had been resolved. He said the negotiations had probably gone as far as they could at this stage.