Stephen Farry: A customs union is the only solution for the UK

Mr Kawczynski believes the House of Lords should be replaced by an elected senate
Mr Kawczynski believes the House of Lords should be replaced by an elected senate
Author

24 April, 2018

Reports are suggesting that Theresa May could be willing to U-turn on the Customs Union.

The battle over customs rules is likely to reach a climax in a Commons vote as early as next month.

It means when goods have cleared customs in one country, they can be shipped to others in the union without additional tariffs being imposed.

But she said arrangements which are as "frictionless as possible" with the European Union and the ability to sign trade arrangements with other countries were both achievable under the government's proposals. The newspaper reported that May's office believed Fox and Johnson would quit rather than accept staying in the European Union customs arrangement, but that other euroskeptics such as Gove would remain.

May over the weekend not to abandon plans for a clean Brexit, and Brexit secretary David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson are reportedly set to press the Prime Minister on the issue further.

The Prime Minister has insisted that the United Kingdom must leave the customs union after Brexit in order to strike trade deals around the world.

The prime minister's problem is that her approach does not command a majority in parliament, where fears about the impact of leaving the customs union on British manufacturers and on the Border in Ireland are growing as Brexit approaches.

More news: Sean Hannity responds after being named as Michael Cohen's mystery client

The most sensible way forward is for the United Kingdom as a whole to remain within a customs union with the EU and to allow Northern Ireland to remain within the single market.

It was one of two options outlined to minimise friction on the Irish border and allow Britain to pursue trade deals with third-parties during her address.

Those in favour of remaining in the customs union argue that cutting trading ties would severely damage the United Kingdom economy.

The Government is negotiating what Britain's customs arrangement will be like post-Brexit. May could threaten to ask parliament to call an election if she loses a vote on the customs union, or she could threaten to resign.

Mr Umunna said on Twitter: 'The Brextremists threaten May with a leadership election if she concedes on the customs union but a new Tory leader would face the same parliamentary arithmetic'.

He also called into question ministers' reasons for not wanting the Charter to apply in the United Kingdom after Brexit.

This not only avoids any new hard borders but is also fundamentally in the economic interest of the United Kingdom itself, and is advocated by the CBI and other business groups.


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