MEPs have called for Britain to stay permanently aligned to EU employment, environmental and competition laws as the price of a free trade deal.

The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution setting out the chamber’s views on the forthcoming negotiations between Brussels and London.

It calls for “dynamic alignment” of UK and EU rules – which would mean that whenever the EU changed laws, the UK would be expected to follow suit.



BREXIT PARSONS

The text was adopted by 543 votes to 39.

MEPs agreed that given the size of the UK’s economy and its closeness to the continent, future competition with the bloc must be kept open and fair through a “level playing field”.

This would mean guarantees for equal rules on social, environmental tax, state aid, consumer protection and climate matters.

The resolution is based on the draft negotiating directives from the European Commission set out by EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Downing Street gave the resolution short shrift.

“The British people voted to be independent with control over our rules and laws, and so we will not accept alignment to EU rules in any way,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said.

“Having autonomy over our rules and laws is exactly the same principle that the EU have set out in their mandate.

“In fact they have said the parties should ensure that the parties retain their autonomy and the ability to regulate economic activity.

“That is exactly what we are doing and asking.”



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The spokesman added that the political declaration agreed by the two sides “set out our commitment to discuss open and fair competition as part of negotiations on our future relationship”.

“We want a relationship with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals and centred on free trade.

“We are not asking for a special, bespoke or unique deal but one like the EU has previously struck with other friendly countries like Canada.”



The UK has left the EU

Britain left the EU on 31 January, but talks on the future relationship can only officially begin once the 27 EU states have endorsed the negotiating objectives drawn up by Mr Barnier.

This is not expected to happen until later this month.

“We are ready to start talking as soon as they are and have been ready to start talking since 1 February,” the PM’s spokesman said.

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