Chancellor Philip Hammond appears to have been caught out this week when answering Brexit related questions at a Treasury Committee.
SNP’s Stewart Hosie quizzed Mr Hammond on the EU backstop and asked a fairly simple question in my opinion, of which Mr Hammond could not answer.
Mr Hosie asked the Chancellor if the backstop would mean that the EU would offer third-party countries access to a tariff-free UK market, but not offer the UK access to their market in return.
It sounds simple enough and you would expect the UK to receive the same benefits of the other Customs Union members in a backstop arrangement.
Mr Hammond seemed to be staggered by the question, he replied: (VIDEO BELOW) “Errr..I’m going to have to check the details in this rather large document and come back to you on that”
The SNP MP replied: “So we have a UK backstop, provisionally depending on what parliament does next, but you do not know whether or not if we fall in and have to use that backstop, a third country would have to offer the UK the same consideration that we might be required to offer them.”
Hammond replied: “I don’t want to have to give the committee a wrong answer so I will have to check and I’ll write a letter to you”
It’s always good to see a remain supporting MP stunned by questions on Brexit. If we had a Canada style free trade agreement or left without a deal, there would be no need for a Customs Union backstop!
At the moment it’s easier to leave the EU than it is to leave the backstop!