Government Should Prioritise Growth Over Continuity with EU After Brexit as It Cannot Have Both, Says Lord Hill

Photo via New Statesmen

Lord Hill, the Former Commissioner of the European Union, has informed the government that it is “going to have to choose” whether it wants competitiveness or continuity after Brexit – and suggested that it should concentrate on competitiveness.

Hill was the commissioner for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union for two years until the referendum. He informed the House of Lords that it made no sense to “subcontract all our rule-making to someone else” in hopes of preserving the status quo.

In a debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill, Hill stated: “To state what should be obvious by now, we are simply not going to be able to be both in the Single Market and free to make own rules where we want to… We are not going to be able to converge where it suits us to have continuity we want to and diverge where it suits us to be more competitive.”

Hill continued: “We must surely place greater priority on being able to shape our own future than on preserving the status quo, particularly when technological innovation is itself going to change the status quo, whatever we decide on Brexit.”

The comments of Hill come only a week after chancellor Philip Hammond was shot down for suggesting that the government was looking at “very modest” changes to the relationship with the European Union after Brexit. Previously, David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has said that he is hoping for regulatory alignment with the bloc, emphasising that both sides begin from an unprecedented position of closeness.

Either way, Hill proposed speed regarding the matter, saying that business leaders were more depressed by the “political paralysis” that is caused by Brexit than Brexit itself.

“Instead of talking endlessly about Brexit they want to know about life after Brexit,” Hill added.

It was time for the government of the United Kingdom to “reduce uncertainty by taking some decisions and being honest about the consequences.”

“Just like any other change in politics, there are going to be winners and losers from Brexit, and there is no point in denying that basic truth,” said the Remain-supporting peer. “So where the government needs to concentrate is on working out how to mitigate losses and accelerate the wins.”

He was not the only peer to call on the government of the United Kingdom to stop dithering.

Lord Bridges, the Former DexEU minister, informed his colleagues: “We cannot indulge in that very British habit of just muddling through. The Prime Minister must make choices. Keeping every option open is no longer an option.”