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Montevideo, August 21st 2018 - 00:19 UTC

Crucial week for Theresa May who insists that “we are leaving the customs union”

Tuesday, April 24th 2018 - 08:00 UTC
Full article 42 comments
Following a defeat in the House of Lords over the customs union vote after Brexit, the Prime Minister and her team are reported to be having a rethink. Following a defeat in the House of Lords over the customs union vote after Brexit, the Prime Minister and her team are reported to be having a rethink.
If this happens senior members of the Cabinet such as International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson could both resign. If this happens senior members of the Cabinet such as International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson could both resign.
Justice Secretary David Gauke insisted the Government needs to make the case to MPs for leaving the customs union as part of Brexit. Justice Secretary David Gauke insisted the Government needs to make the case to MPs for leaving the customs union as part of Brexit.

British Prime Minister Theresa May could bow to Parliamentary pressure to keep Britain in a customs union with the European Union after Brexit. Following a defeat in the House of Lords and reports that a number of Tory MPs will vote in favor of membership in the Commons, the Prime Minister and her team are reported to be having a rethink.

 One senior Downing Street aide told the Sunday Times that in a meeting last month it was said that Mrs. May and her top team “will not be crying into our beer” if Parliament forces the Government’s hand on the issue. Such a U-turn would be popular with business leaders and go a long way to resolving Mrs. May’s difficulties in resolving the Northern Ireland border issue.

However, it would also be hugely controversial with senior members of the Cabinet, with Downing Street now believing International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson could both resign.

Justice Secretary David Gauke, appearing on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, insisted the Government needs to make the case to MPs for leaving the customs union as part of Brexit. He said: “The job of those of us in Government is to persuade Parliament that the route going forward, leaving the customs union, but ensuring that we don’t put in place unnecessary barriers to our trade with the European Union.”

“We can make that case to Parliament. I think we can win that case. I think we have got to win that case and that is my determination.”

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who also appeared on the program, said that remaining in a customs union “makes sense”. She said: “I think anybody who has looked into this issue over the last year or so has seen that it is quite clear that there is no other place that we can go than to remain in a customs union with the European Union – nothing else makes sense.”

“If we leave the European Union, we leave the customs union and we don’t have anything to replace it with, we suddenly, when we leave, are going to have to make not just new deals with countries across the world for free trade but also all the other ones that Europe had made until that point.”

A Downing Street source said Mrs. May would continue to argue for Britain to leave the customs union, adding: “Government policy hasn’t changed – we are leaving the customs union.”

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • The Voice

    If we can stay in the Customs Union AND control who works in Britain, and be able to trade freely on our own terms with all parts of the world that would be a massive dose of common sense from our Continental friends. Quite out of character and opposite to what they have been trying to impose upon us all along.
    We dont need any input from Ah Gee vegetables, so sod off Twinkle. All you are trying to do is stir.

    Apr 26th, 2018 - 08:29 pm +3
  • DemonTree

    @Think
    Terry is an idiot, but the people he quotes aren't.

    If the Customs Union of the EU comes with an untouchable “Freedom of Movement” clause, you should be able to find something saying so. The EU website would be best, but any news article would be a good start.

    In actual fact you're just talking crap. AFAIK what would actually happen is a customs union between the EU and UK, which unlike the Turkish one would include all goods. Basically identical to being in 'the' customs union, but since we wouldn't be in the single market there'd be no big payments and no freedom of movement. (However, there'd be other downsides as I already mentioned.)

    PS. “so the EU can return to its core values” - which core values were you thinking of?
    Propping up inefficient French agriculture? Ever increasing bureaucracy? Or creating a 'United States of Europe'? They aren't remotely ready for the last one, and if EU values include liberal democracy then Hungary and Poland are currently the biggest threats.

    I note that no one in the EU seems to share your attitude - none of them are at all happy about Brexit.

    @TV
    Unfortunately, what you want is completely impossible. The Customs Union allows goods to be transported across borders within Europe without checks, tariffs or limits, but that is only possible because all the countries in the EU charge the same tariffs on goods coming from outside. Trading freely on our own terms would mean setting our own tariffs, but if we're in a customs union we can't do that.

    It's not the EU being awkward in this case but simple logistics.

    Apr 26th, 2018 - 09:35 pm +2
  • DemonTree

    They're not going to just abandon NI out of convenience, even if May wasn't relying on the DUP to keep her majority.

    NI is changing, Ireland is changing, so it could happen one day, but I don't think many people think it's a good idea right now.

    Apr 24th, 2018 - 07:27 pm +1
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