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Brexit-backer Fox offers argument for keeping UK in customs union

Brexit-backer Fox offers argument for keeping UK in customs union

After a small flutter in the dovecote of Theresa May's cabinet over the weekend, Downing Street on Monday restated her unequivocal commitment to leaving the customs union after Brexit. I can't remember how many times I watched politicians stand up and laud the possibilities of an independent British trade policy after Brexit during the referendum campaign, but it was a lot.

His comments come as Theresa May has ruled out membership of the customs union and single market.

Some Remainers are relaxed about this, because they see it as a way of half-staying in the EU.

Brexiteers fear the parliamentary arithmetic, combined with Brussels's rejection of Britain's customs proposals and the need to show how a hard border can be avoided, will push the prime minister into seeking some kind of customs union with the EU.

Mrs May insists the United Kingdom would be unable to negotiate free trade deals around the world if the United Kingdom signed up to a customs union deal with the EU.

The UK government's defeat will now be considered in the Commons, where MPs may overturn it.

Those plans included two options, either a "customs partnership" effectively collecting duties for Brussels for goods arriving in the United Kingdom but intended for European Union markets or a "highly streamlined" arrangement making use of technology and regulatory co-operation. Parliament is set to hold a non-binding vote on the customs union on Thursday.




Supporters of the customs union say it would help to keep an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Although that vote would be a symbolic and non-binding, it has the potential to deepen Tory wounds on Brexit.

"Coming out of the customs union means that we will be free to have those deals, deals that suit the UK".

"But I also recognise the importance to businesses like this of being able to have as frictionless a border as possible into the European Union".

Ministers have argued that the move is unnecessary because United Kingdom citizens will automatically receive those protections when Britain leaves the EU.

Theresa May suffered another Brexit defeat last night as peers voted to keep the EU's human rights rules after the United Kingdom leaves the bloc.

Conservative peer, Lord Keen of Elie, said retaining the Charter would be "the greatest constitutional outrage since 1689".


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