Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss: UK to back ‘freedom fighters’ post-Brexit

Elizabeth Truss MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Elizabeth Truss MP. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has told the Conservative conference that Britain will back trade 'freedom fighters' rather than protectionists after Brexit.

The international trade secretary and South West Norfolk MP sought to paint a positive image of the UK's trade future if it leaves the European Union, pledging to work with Commonwealth countries and "rising" nations in South America and south east Asia.

She also claimed freeports will "do for trade what Canary Wharf did for financial services".

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Ms Truss said: "There are some people who fear change and competition. They think the solution is to protect ourselves from the future.

"I believe this is the wrong approach.

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"Britain will be on the side of the competitive, freedom fighters not the protectionists.

"That's why in striking new free trade deals I am prioritising free market democracies, countries who share our values and can help set global standards.

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"We're not talking here about EU-style regulatory harmonisation - a one-size-fits-all approach - but mutual recognition of other countries with high standards."

In a nod to previous conference speeches in her time as environment secretary, Ms Truss also explained how trade deals could ensure cheese tariffs are removed for British producers.

She later took aim at Commons Speaker John Bercow, joking: "I've just flown round the world meeting our key allies.

"I've spent more time in an aircraft cabin than John Bercow spends looking in the mirror."

Ms Truss, who has faced calls to resign after she revealed a number of military export licence breaches, said people around the world "believe in Britain", adding: "Isn't it time we believed in Britain too?"

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