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Montevideo, November 22nd 2018 - 11:15 UTC

UK post-Brexit customs plan “is almost laughable” says Scottish First Minister Sturgeon

Wednesday, August 16th 2017 - 10:29 UTC
Full article 9 comments
Ms Sturgeon posted an initial reaction to the customs union plan on Twitter, saying: “Seems UK gov is back to its daft 'have cake and eat it' approach to Brexit” Ms Sturgeon posted an initial reaction to the customs union plan on Twitter, saying: “Seems UK gov is back to its daft 'have cake and eat it' approach to Brexit”
The SNP leader said that the plan “would almost be laughable” if the issues involved were not so serious. The SNP leader said that the plan “would almost be laughable” if the issues involved were not so serious.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, tweeted that the idea of “invisible borders” was “a fantasy”. Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, tweeted that the idea of “invisible borders” was “a fantasy”.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed the UK government's plans for a post-Brexit customs deal with the EU as a “daft 'have cake and eat it' approach”. UK ministers have set out plans for an “ambitious new customs arrangement” with the EU after the UK leaves.

 This could include a “temporary customs union” after March 2019 to prevent border problems during the process. However, the first minister said the UK “should commit to staying in the single market and customs union, period”.

The customs arrangements document is the first in a series of papers to be published by the Westminster government on key negotiation issues. Businesses had called for clarity since the UK announced it was leaving the EU's tariff-free trading area.

Ministers said the plans would mean the “freest and most frictionless possible trade” with the rest of Europe.

The newly-published paper says the UK could ask Brussels to establish a “temporary customs union” after it leaves the EU in March 2019. During this period it would also expect to be able to negotiate its own international trade deals, which it cannot currently do as a customs union member.

Once any temporary arrangement expired, the paper says the UK would look to agree either a “highly streamlined” border with the EU or a new “partnership” with no customs border at all.

The plan has drawn a mixed response, with Labor's shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer calling it “incoherent and inadequate” and “fantastical and contradictory”. However, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said it was “encouraging”, and the Institute of Directors said it was “hugely positive step”.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, tweeted that the idea of “invisible borders” was “a fantasy”.

Ms Sturgeon posted an initial reaction to the customs union plan on Twitter, saying: “Seems UK gov is back to its daft 'have cake and eat it' approach to Brexit. They should commit to staying in single market and customs union, period.”

Speaking in Montrose, where the Scottish government's cabinet held a meeting prior to a public discussion event, the SNP leader said that the plan “would almost be laughable” if the issues involved were not so serious.

She said: “You've got the UK government appearing to say that they don't want to say in 'the' customs union, but they want to stay in 'a' customs union, which would be pretty much identical to the European customs union that we're in already. It's nonsensical and ridiculous.

”I think it increasingly makes the UK government look like a bit of a laughing stock.

“I wish we weren't leaving the EU, but if the UK is leaving the EU then the common sense thing to do is to stay in the single market and to stay in the customs union. Because that will mean we can continue to export goods and services and continue to travel freely like we can today”.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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  • Clyde15

    gordo1
    the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, tweeted that the idea of “invisible borders” was “a fantasy”.

    Isn't that what she is saying ?

    TV
    You are saying “we want”, probably just as many are now saying “we don't want”

    Aug 17th, 2017 - 10:56 am +1
  • DemonTree

    @TV
    “We want to leave the EU and trade with EU countries and other counties around the world without any tarriffs or barriers.”

    Good lord, no one wants that. Barriers include things like safety regulations, eg ensuring your beef isn't full of growth hormones and your phone charger won't explode. Tariffs include anti-dumping measures and protection for vital industries. The people who complained about Eastern Europeans taking their jobs aren't going to be any happier if the factories simply move to Eastern Europe and take the jobs with them.

    Brexiters wanted us to be able to make our own laws, which should include our own tariffs and consumer protection laws. They won't want to agree to the UK adopting eg American safety standards instead, will they?

    @Clyde15
    Yes, that's what she's saying. The government's desire for 'partnership' with no customs border is nonsensical. If we don't share tariffs with the EU there will be a border, however streamlined they can make it. The only thing they could mean is that we leave the customs union in name only, exactly what the Brexiters were fearing.

    Aug 17th, 2017 - 05:02 pm +1
  • The Voice

    Yes Bollocks, you are an expert in hyperbole and misunderstanding practically everything. You have no experience of anything either. Perhaps you are David Willets? Sorry LORD David Willets who has never had a proper job - just like yourself. You make inaccurate sweeping statements putting everyone in the same little box. Sign of a small closed mind. Pointless... The EU is everything John Lennon hated.

    Aug 17th, 2017 - 10:43 pm +1
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