5th April 2017

Britain and the EU must work together to shape a close new relationship that works in the interests of all citizens, Conservative MEPs' leader Ashley Fox told the European Parliament today.

Speaking in a debate on the Parliament's Brexit guidelines, Mr Fox stressed: "We all need a good agreement, not a good fight."

He went on: "I want members to see today as a beginning and not an end. It is the start of a new relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Although we will be leaving the EU we want to forge a deep and special partnership with our friends and allies in Europe.

"It is in the interests of all our citizens that we reach a comprehensive agreement. I want Britain's borders with the EU to be as invisible as possible to allow as much trade as possible."

Mr Fox criticised the way the Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt had drawn up the draft guidelines, consulting only with a handful of political friends and presenting it as a fait accompli to the vast majority of MEPs.

"We hope in future we can work with you in 'good faith and full transparency', as you request in your motion, " Mr Fox added.

In a reference to the controversy over Gibraltar, Mr Fox, who represents South West England and Gibraltar, emphasised that the Rock's sovereignty was not on the table in the forthcoming negotiations.

He concluded: "Let us go forward together and reach that deep and special partnership that will benefit all our nations."

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