Nov. 21 (UPI) — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday that he would block a shift to a Swiss-style Brexit, which would require the United Kingdom to align its laws with the European Union.
“On trade, let me be unequivocal about this. Under my leadership, the United Kingdom will not pursue any relationship with Europe that relies on alignment with EU laws,” Sunak said at a conference in Birmingham, according to the BBC and The Guardian.
Sunak noted that he voted for Brexit, the controversial referendum led by British conservatives to leave the EU in 2019.
“I believe in Brexit and I know that Brexit can deliver, and is already delivering, enormous benefits and opportunities for the country — migration being an immediate one,” Sunak said.
“We have proper control of our borders and are able to have a conversation with our country about the type of migration that we want and need.”
Sunak’s comments came after recent reports indicated that his government wants to move toward a relationship with the EU similar to Switzerland, which can trade easily with the rest of Europe but must follow some of the bloc’s rules.
“When it comes to trade, it means that we can open up our country to the world’s fastest-growing markets,” Sunak said.
“I’ve just got back from the G20 in Indonesia. We’re talking about signing CPTPP, where we’ve got some of the most exciting, fastest-growing economies in the world, and we can become a part of that trading bloc. That’s a fantastic opportunity for the U.K.”
Sunak also struck down calls for the government to loosen its immigration requirements to encourage the free movement of labor.
“Part of the reason we ended free movement of labor was to rebuild public consent in our immigration system,” Sunak said Monday.
“If we’re going to have a system that allows businesses to access the best and brightest from around the world, we need to do more to give the British people trust and confidence that the system works and is fair. That means tackling illegal migration.”
After reports that Sunak’s government was considering increasing its relations with the EU, current and former members of Parliament voiced concern about how doing so would affect Britain.
“I very much hope and believe this isn’t something under consideration. We settled the question of leaving the European Union, definitively, in 2019,” Simon Clarke tweeted.
Lord David Frost, who negotiated the existing deal, told the BBC: “I hope the government thinks better of these plans, fast.”