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Tories can move past Brexit by getting results

Brexit was supposed to be a trade-off. The UK would leave Europe’s single market and customs union, but make up for it with flexible self-governance and better trade links with countries around the world.

The jury is still out on whether or not the Government is taking advantage of its freedom to slash red tape and reform how the state is run – leaving aside the question of whether or not that would be a good idea.

When it comes to trade, progress has been mixed. There really have been breakthroughs in Britain’s economic ties to the rising Pacific powers; but the biggest prize, a deal with the US, is a distant prospect. The economic hit caused by Brexit has by no means been overcome.

That is why ministers are so keen to seal an agreement with India. But as i reveals today, things are not going smoothly.

The problem is that trade-offs are inherent to any trade arrangement. Is the UK willing to give more Indian citizens access to our labour market, in exchange for looser rules on how our businesses can sell into their country? If not, the deal will never be as wide-ranging as it could be.

The Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch wants to take time to get the deal right.

The problem for the Government is that they do need some political wins as soon as possible. My colleague Richard Vaughan has been crunching through the Conservative election manifesto and concluded that they are not delivering on many of the promises they made the country in 2019.

The Tories want to move past Brexit – Labour does, too. The best way of doing that would be making rapid but steady progress on the opportunities that opened up after our departure from the EU.

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