EU referendum: Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith says UK could make trade deal with EU in event of Brexit

James Nickerson
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David Cameron Chairs The Weekly Cabinet Meeting
Duncan Smith praised the Prime Minister for allowing ministers to campaign with their consciences (Source: Getty)

The United Kingdom will trade with the European Union even if it votes for Brexit, Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said, as he lambasted the union as a political project.

Speaking to BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, Duncan Smith said the EU is an important trading partner and it would want to continue trading with the UK if it votes to leave the 28-member bloc.

He said that the EU has a "real requirement to trade with us, a desperate one, and we will trade with them".

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The Conservative minister said he would want the EU to be able to access the UK market freely, and would also want the UK to be able to access the EU's marketplace in a post-Brexit world.

But the UK would also want barriers reduced on financial trade, where "all sorts of barriers are put up".

While EU-UK trade would continue, he added, the UK would also be able to negotiate deals with other countries.

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The real problem, Duncan Smith said, is that the EU is not about "the trade issue" and was set up as a political project to bring the nations of Europe "closer and closer together".

"For most of the countries of the EU, they believe in the political project. We do not," he said.

He added: "We do a deal with the EU. That is a trade deal, it is about access to our markets and access to theirs. Part of our red lines would be about us being able to control our borders as we want…That deal is very doable."

Duncan Smith's comments come after the Prime Minister challenged those who support Brexit to detail what the UK's relationship with the EU would look like if the UK does vote to leave.

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