Barry Gardiner, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, responding to claims by Liam Fox that Britain's non-EU partners had indicated they would allow the UK to continue trading on existing terms after the UK leaves the EU, said:
"Legal advice from the European Commission and confirmed by the House of Commons Library suggests that the UK would have to renegotiate all those trade agreements concluded whilst we were members of the EU.
“If Dr. Fox has the private assurances he has claimed from non-EU trade partners, then these need to be made public and confirmed because the UK must increase its trade to these countries by 37% over the next 15 years just to stand still.
“A "cross your fingers" approach to what would constitute a 4.5% drop in GDP is simply not good enough.
“Today's reports again highlight just how dangerous this split in the government is. Policy decisions cannot be based upon private "gentleman's agreements" made off the record by foreign politicians who may or may not still be in office when we need to call them in.
"People need to know their jobs are being protected and businesses need clarity about the basis of future trade. This government is offering neither."
Notes to Editors
1. Liam Fox told Cabinet colleagues in the Brexit sub-committee yesterday that he had received assurances from non-EU countries that they would allow the UK to continue trading with them on the same conditions after the UK leaves the EU until new agreements had been drawn up, according to media reports.