Lord Jones of Birmingham, a former trade minister under Gordon Brown, added: “The UK has a rich history as a great trading nation. It is therefore no surprise that a number of major economies have already expressed an interest in striking free trade agreements with us.
“The only way we can make the most of these huge opportunities is to leave the EU’s customs union and take back control of our trade policy. This will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in a range of industries right across the UK. “We can then take our place as one of the global champions of free trade.”
A number of prominent Brexit campaigners are arguing for Britain to cut all ties with the EU. They want Britain to become an independent member of the World Trade Organisation, allowing it to negotiate its own trade deals across the world.
Tim Martin, chairman and founder of the pub group JD Wetherspoon, on Monday told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it is a mistake to consider the upcoming Brexit negotiations the “most difficult” or “complex” ever faced by the United Kingdom.
He said the discussions could be summed up in one sentence: “World Trade Organisation rules.”
Mr Martin said that David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, has a straightforward decision to make between adopting WTO rules or signing a free trade agreement with the EU and remaining a part of the customs union.
“All David Davis needs to say is, ‘listen, guys, free trade or World Trade Organisation rules?’” he said.
“I don’t mind. We’ll make more money under World Trade Organisation rules because we will benefit from the tariffs.
“What you’ve got to be prepared to do is walk away – and it is perfectly clear that [David] Cameron’s big error, in being a naive sort of guy thinking we could do it through a PR stunt, was he wasn’t prepared to walk away.”