Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, raised a question about the European referendum and the alternatives to EU membership with the Foreign Secretary in Parliament.

The referendum is expected this year and must be held before the end of 2017. The Labour party believes that the best deal for Britain is to remain in the European Union. Some Eurosceptics have suggested that Britain should aim to negotiate a deal with the EU similar to Norway’s. However in return for its access to the single market Norway pays into the EU budget and has a higher rate of immigration from EU countries than the UK does because it has to accept the free movement principle.

In the House of Commons, Emma asked, “Does the Foreign Secretary believe that it would be in the UK’s national interest to have the “fax democracy” of Norway, whereby we would be sent the rules and regulations of the single market, abide by the freedom of movement principle, and pay into the EU budget but have no seat around the negotiating table?”

The Foreign Secretary answered, “That model has never seemed very attractive to me. Some people have talked about the Norwegian model in the domestic debate here, but perhaps they have failed to understand how it works. As the hon. Lady has just said, it involves accepting all the rules and paying all the subs but getting no vote and no seat at the table. That does not look like a good plan to me.”

Speaking afterwards, Emma said, “One of the alternatives to EU membership put forward by Eurosceptics is that Britain should be like Norway. That would be a bad deal for Britain and bad for Wolverhampton. Under such a deal, we would still have to pay into the EU budget but we would get no say over how the money was spent or what the rules were.

“Remaining in the European Union is vital for jobs and investment in Wolverhampton and across the country. International companies like Jaguar Land Rover and UTC have invested in Wolverhampton in part because of our access to the European single market. Leaving the EU would put jobs and investment at risk.”