Recently following a plenary session debating Brexit, the First Minister sent this tweet about me:

“A genuinely interesting point in the Assembly debate made by @MarkReckless when he declared himself interested in EFTA membership”

I am not sure why he was surprised. I have been a long standing supporter of free trade and the benefits it can bring. Unlike Donald Trump and some parties in the EU, both UKIP and the Vote Leave campaign wanted Brexit so that we could open our economy to the world, not close it off.

As part of that, of course we would be interested in joining an organisation called the European Free Trade Association or EFTA as it’s more commonly known.

What we objected to was the erosion of democracy and surrender of sovereignty which membership of the EU entailed, as well as its protectionism against the rest of the world. EFTA does not require such a sacrifice of our own decision making. Moreover, as a free trade association rather than a customs union, EFTA does not put up barriers against those outside.

I would be delighted if the First Minister is also interested in the possibility of the UK joining EFTA. It would be a pleasure to discuss with him the ways in which the UK and Wales can move forward into a better trading relationship with the EU as well as the rest of the world after Brexit.

52 Labour MPs at Westminster, including 7 from Wales, tried to stop Brexit by voting against triggering Article 50. In the Assembly the First Minister only asked his Assembly Members to note the triggering of Article 50 to leave the EU, not to support it as Wales did in the referendum.

However, rather than trying to refight the referendum over and over again, I hope the First Minister will now accept the will of the British and Welsh people. I am certainly keen to explore sensible future relations with the EU as well as countries outside Europe. The EFTA model may well be one of these and I recognise that good free trade deals require agreed mechanisms to resolve disputes. Leaving the EU is about re-engaging with the rest of the world and it is right we should work across parties in Wales to do that.