Andrew Bridgen pointed out failures in the EU economy, referring specifically to France heading towards a recession and Germany experiencing its greatest slow down since the Great Recession. The Brexiteer MP also outlined how trade with the UK is “hugely” within the EU’s interest. Mr Bridgen told France 24: “The EU sell us twice as much stuff as we sell to them, one in three of the lorries travelling back from the UK to the continent are actually empty. So it’s hugely in the European Union’s interest, especially at a time when quantitative easing has just been stopped before Christmas in the Eurozone.
“We’ve got France slipping into recession due to civil unrest and the economy, and we’ve got the German economy suffering its biggest slow down since 2008, the Great Recession.
“I think the last thing that the Eurozone economies need is reduced trade with their biggest trading partner. When we leave the European Union we’ll be 17% of all the EU’s exports, one in seven of all German cars.”
The news host asked: “That may be true for Europe with reduced trade as you say, but I come back to that figure, 44% of UK exports at the moment is with Europe. Do you really want to put trade tariffs on top of that?”
The Tory MP hit back: “Well we don’t have to. Under WTO we can immediately offer, we leave on March 29, we immediately offer the European Union reciprocal free trade agreement, going to talks we can have up to 10 years on tariff free trade.
“And given that we’re buying twice as much from the Eurozone as we sell into it, it’s the only part of the world where we have that huge trade deficit.
“I think that’s a very generous offer, which the European Union will be very keen to accept.
“We can have up to 10 years of tariff free trade exactly as we’ve got at the moment, and quota free trade until we have that free trade agreement.”
The comments follow Theresa May being forced into potentially having to scramble together a Brexit Plan B after suffering a humiliating fifth Commons defeat in less than a month.
The amendment was controversially allowed by Speaker John Bercow who faced accusations of over his impartiality by leading Brexiteers.
It had been tabled by rebel Tories who are plotting to delay Brexit or keep the UK in the EU in the event of a no-deal.
The amendment was passed by 308 votes to 297, with a majority of 11.
Sir Oliver Letwin told MPs the group of rebels will thwart every attempt to leave the EU without a deal.
He said: “I want to make it abundantly clear that a majority in this house will not allow a no-deal exit to occur at the end of March.”