I want to maintain a close economic relationship with the EU in the future. I believe that this is in the interests of UK and EU businesses and it is the best way of securing prosperity for both of our citizens.
As we leave the EU, I also believe that we should have more control over the UK's trade policy. The EU has predicted that 90 per cent of future economic growth will come from outside of Europe and I want to be able to take advantage of this in new trade deals. That is why I support the Withdrawal Agreement. This maintains the benefits of a customs union while also providing this country with an independent trade policy. This delivers on the referendum result while also protecting people's livelihoods.
My ministerial colleagues have been consistently clear that protecting public services, including the NHS, in trade deals is of the highest importance. Future trade deals will ensure that decisions on running public services remain the sole competence of the UK Government and the devolved administrations. The NHS is universal and free at the point of use. It will never be for sale to the private sector and no trade deal will change these principles.
I can assure you that food and animal welfare standards will not be reduced in the pursuit of trade deals. Any future trade deal must work for British farmers and consumers. EU standards on food such as chlorinated chicken will come into UK law through the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. EU regulations on hormone treated beef are already part of UK law. These prevent the use of growth hormones in imports and domestic production. These will continue after the UK leaves the EU.
I continue to believe that leaving with the Withdrawal Agreement that has been negotiated with the EU remains the best option for the UK. It ensures that the UK takes back control of its laws, borders and money while protecting jobs. I am confident that it will secure the support of Parliament in the future.