Michael Gove says not leaving the single market would be 'fake Brexit'

Failure to strike a deal could require £9bn in subsidies to forms, a separate report also warns 

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Michael Gove has urged Theresa May to leave the single market and customs union, describing the approach as a “full Brexit”.

In an article published on Monday the Eeurosceptic former Education Secretary described alternative approaches to leaving the EU as a “fake Brexit” – despite the fact that some other countries outside the EU being members of the single market. 

Theresa May has rejected any suggestions that she will retain parts of EU membership, saying on Sunday that the “question is what is the right relationship for the UK to have with the European Union when we’re outside”.

The push by Mr Gove represents a push to change the political framing of an approach that has thus far been referred to as a “hard Brexit” by most observers.

Prominent Eurosceptics have rejected that description, with Brexit Secretary David Davis saying late last year that he didn’t know what “hard Brexit” mean, despite readily available literature explaining the concept.  

It comes as the think-tank Civitas releases research which suggests failing to strike a post-Brexit deal would cost the Treasury £9bn in support to stop businesses faltering.

Writing for the BrexitCentral website, Mr Gove said: “We need to deliver a full Brexit, not settle for fake Brexit.

“Once Article 50 is triggered, we should be very clear about our simple, straightforward, generous approach to leaving.

“We don’t want or need to be in the single market – outside we can control our own borders, laws and taxes. Inside we’re trapped.

“We don’t want to be bound by being members of the customs union. Outside we can negotiate new trade deals with emerging economies. Inside we’re trapped.

“And we don’t need to waste months talking about new tariffs. We don’t have any at the moment with Europe, we don’t want to impose any and attempts to over-complicate the issue are a trap.”

The separate Civitas report suggests that billions could be spent on subsidies and aid within World Trade Organisation rules to help firms as they adapt new tariffs caused by leaving the bloc.

The package could include £2.9bn to support research and development and a £3.8bn programme of regional aid along with a scheme to offer small, discretionary grants to any firm affected by Brexit.

The total cost to the Treasury, including “leakage” to non-affected industries and households, would be £8.8bn – which the report claimed would be easily covered by the £12.9bn collected in tariffs on EU imports into the UK.

Once Britain triggers Article 50 in the coming months the Government will have two years to complete the negotiation process for what the UK’s relationship with the EU will look like.

If no deal is reached by the end of that period then Britain will crash out of the bloc and revert to WTO rules, potentially facing tariffs and quotas against its exports, unless an extension is unanimously agreed by all EU member states.

Additional reporting by PA