Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Ministers 'still making case for leaving customs union'

Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski
| 23 April, 2018, 22:03

A showdown is expected to come at a meeting of the Cabinet Brexit committee scheduled for Wednesday when the trio will tell the PM that a so-called customs partnership, where the United Kingdom would collect European Union import tariffs on behalf of Brussels, would be unworkable, the report said.

But there are growing concerns about the impact of cutting ties with Britain's largest trading partner, and the possible risk to peace in Northern Ireland by introducing an Irish border in the event of a "hard" Brexit.

But a senior Downing Street source told the BBC the government's position would not change.

As a result of the defeat, MPs will debate the customs union in Parliament on Thursday.

Ministers are now bracing themselves for a new vote on a customs union in the Commons on Thursday, following last week's thumping defeat of the EU Withdrawal Bill in the Lords.

The Sunday Times has reported that Mrs May may have to accept staying in the customs union.

Housing and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid echoed the sentiments on Sunday, tweeting that leaving the customs union was an "intrinsic part" of leaving the EU.


Mrs May put forward the idea of the United Kingdom to collecting European Union import tariffs on behalf of Brussels post-Brexit during her Mansion House speech last month.

Among Leave voters, just 8% think Britain is better off economically in Europe, while almost a quarter of these voters (23%) think we should continue to be part of the Single Market. On the other hand, she has hardcore pro-Brexit Tory MPs, according to The Times, warning that a vote of no confidence could be on the horizon if she reneges on her promise to leave the customs union. It was in the Tory manifesto and Downing Street reiterated this stance on Monday.

Mr Wilson said it would be "very unwise for the prime minister to show any sign of weakness" to European Union negotiators.

In February, Kerr was a signatory to an ERG letter calling for "full regulatory autonomy" insisting the the United Kingdom should not be a "rule taker without any substantive say in whatever Brussels decides".

The government has restated its commitment to leaving the EU's custom union - ahead of a symbolic vote on the issue this week.

This would likely enrage Brexiteers, with No.10 reported to believe that worldwide trade secretary Liam Fox and foreign secretary Boris Johnson could resign.

Johnson has previously said that staying in a customs union would be "worse" than remaining in the EU. Opponents say it would stop Britain from being able to sign new free trade deals after Brexit, while supports argue it would protect jobs and go some way to preserving the invisible Irish border.

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