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Liz Truss wants 'Canada-style free trade deal' with Europe after Brexit

PUBLISHED: 16:26 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:26 28 March 2019

Chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Norfolk MP Liz Truss has said she wants a Canada-style trade deal with the EU after Brexit as she urged Tory and DUP MPs to back Theresa May's withdrawal agreement.

Addressing the British Chambers of Commerce conference, the Treasury chief secretary and South West Norfolk MP said there was a “dawning realisation that the deal the prime minister has set out is the deal that will allow us to move forward as a country”.

“The alternatives that have been proposed by parliament, and we saw that in the house yesterday, do not command support, some of them aren’t negotiable.

“What I want to do today is strongly encourage colleagues of mine from the Conservative Party and other parties to back the prime minister’s deal so we can get on with the next stage of negotiations which is the really important part of us being able to secure a good trade deal with the EU.”

She added: “I’m a free trader, I believe that we need to open our economy to the rest of the world, I would like to see us do a Canada-style free trade deal once we have left the EU.”

After Mrs May announced on Wednesday she would step down if MPs supported her deal, Ms Truss tweeted: “Prime minister gave a dignified and honest speech at the 1922. She cares deeply about our country and is a patriot. People must now support the deal and move us forward.”

Ms Truss abstained from indicative votes on Wednesday, as part of the cabinet. As did Great Yarmouth MP and party chairman Brandon Lewis.

MPs are to vote again on Brexit on Friday, but the debate will not amount to a third attempt to pass a meaningful vote on Theresa May’s EU withdrawal package.

Norfolk and Waveney MPs Sir Henry Bellingham, George Freeman, Brandon Lewis, Keith Simpson, Chloe Smith, Liz Truss, and Richard Bacon all voted for Mrs May’s deal previously.

But it has twice been defeated in the Commons, with Clive Lewis, Richard Bacon, and Norman Lamb voting against it.

It is understood Mr Bacon changed to backing the prime minister after she gave a speech to the party’s 1922 Committee on Wednesday night, where she promised to resign before the second phase of Brexit in exchange for MPs’ support.

Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom appeared to indicate that MPs could be asked to approve the withdrawal agreement reached last November, but not the political declaration setting out plans for a future trade and security relationship with the EU.

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