'They think it's like signing up to Netflix' - Plan for Norway-style Brexit alternative criticised

PUBLISHED: 10:17 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:57 07 January 2019

The Svalbard Islands in Norway. (Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

The Svalbard Islands in Norway. (Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

Archant

A group of cross-party MPs have been told that the ship for their proposed Norway-style Brexit "sailed some time ago".

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A lorry passes a sign to Deal on the day of two tests of a plan to use the former Manston Airport site in Kent to hold lorries in the event of no-deal Brexit disruption at the channel ports. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA WireA lorry passes a sign to Deal on the day of two tests of a plan to use the former Manston Airport site in Kent to hold lorries in the event of no-deal Brexit disruption at the channel ports. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The cross-party Norway Plus Group have set out plans for a new relationship which would see the UK leave the European Union on March 29 as planned but stay within the single market.

The report, written by Tory Robert Halfon and Labour’s Lucy Powell, claims the plan offers a “common sense Brexit deal” but has been criticised by People’s Vote campaigners.

The “Common Market 2.0” vision 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.

Former minister Halfon and ex-shadow cabinet minister Powell said: “As the chances of a no-deal Brexit are rising, today we are coming together, from different sides of the House of Commons, to make the case for a common sense Brexit deal.

MORE: PETER MANDELSON: 11 reasons why a Norway-style Brexit would be a disaster for Britain

“The report we are publishing together makes the case for a Brexit that delivers on the result of the 2016 referendum while protecting the economic interests of working people across the UK.

“Common Market 2.0 offers Theresa May a last chance at a Brexit deal that can command a cross-party majority.

“Common Market 2.0 is also the only deal that meets Labour’s six tests by delivering on Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a customs union and a strong Single Market deal.

“Common Market 2.0 is the only sensible, common sense Brexit deal that can work.”

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

Labour MP Peter Kyle said: “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. Norway shadows the ECJ, it pays more fees into EU countries as part of its settlement per capita than Britain currently does for full membership, and Norway is very honest about the downside of taking rules whilst having little influence over their making.”

He added: “It’s now clear there is no form of Brexit, including this one, that can fulfil all the promises made for it. And there is no Brexit deal, even this one, that is as good as the deal we’ve got inside the EU.”

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