Could Norway-style Brexit replace PM's doomed Brexit deal?

PUBLISHED: 10:02 13 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:08 13 January 2019

Could a Norway-style Brexit deal gain in popularity? Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Could a Norway-style Brexit deal gain in popularity? Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A Norway-style Brexit could quickly gain in popularity should the prime minister's Brexit deal flounder as expected in the House of Commons next week, a Conservative MP has said.

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Former minister Robert Halfon and Labour’s Lucy Powell have published a report outlining a “Common Market 2.0” vision for a Norway-style Brexit.

It would see the UK keep the Withdrawal Agreement thrashed out by the prime minister with Brussels, but significantly rewrite the Political Declaration to state an intention to stay in the single market.

This, along with a customs deal with the EU, would avoid the need for the controversial Irish backstop measure to be implemented.

However critics of the plan - including People’s Vote campaigners - said “this ship sailed some time ago”.

Labour MP Peter Kyle said when Halfon and Powell’s report was published: “Some people believe the Norway model is as simple as signing up to Netflix, it isn’t. Negotiations would be as complex as the last two years and result in the same challenges.”

Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Harlow MP Halfon said: “Common Market 2.0 delivers the referendum result, takes us out of European democracy and takes back control of fishing, farming and freedom of movement.”

Pressed on whether freedom of movement could ever be controlled in a Common Market 2.0 scenario, he said he believed it could - adding: “Should the prime minister not get the deal through, I think Common Market 2.0 is a deal many MPs could rally behind.”

Mr Halfon is one of those who plans to vote against the prime minister Brexit deal in the House of Commons next week, saying: “I don’t like voting against the prime minister” but that he feels he would be breaking a promise to his constituents to honour the Brexit result if not.

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