Brexit: pros and cons of leaving the customs union
Brexit: pros and cons of leaving the customs union
Mr Kawczynski believes the House of Lords should be replaced by an elected senate
23 April, 2018, 22:00
Up to now, Prime Minister May has sided with the Brexiteers, repeatedly promising that Britain will leave the European Union'scustoms union and not join any similar arrangement after Brexit.
The affirmation was necessary after the House of Lords voted by 348-to-225 in favour of remaining in the Customs' Union, amending the UK's EU Withdrawal Bill.
Since Britain voted to leave the European Union 22 months ago, some of the world's most powerful finance companies in London have been searching for a way to preserve the existing cross-border flow of trading after it leaves the bloc in March 2019.
"Part of the problem is that there are some in the European Union and in the Irish Republic who want to make out that we have to stay in the customs union and will not examine other alternatives", he said.
It comes after peers in the House of Lords rejected the United Kingdom government's EU Withdrawal Bill and instead voted in favor of a customs union amendment.
Foreign secretary and Leave supporter Boris Johnson has warned that not exiting the trade regime would be worse than "no Brexit at all".
A source familiar with the discussion told the paper: "The discussion focused on what to do if parliament votes to stay in a customs union".
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The Prime Minister "is trapped between demands from the Brexiteers who won the referendum, and the numerical reality of the House of Commons and what she can get through", says The Times's Matt Chorley.
May herself has been vehement in her desire for Brexit Britain to be a "global leader in free trade", arguing in her Mansion House speech that it would be a "betrayal of the British people" to stymie its potential by joining a customs union.
The current system allows EU countries to apply the same taxes on imports to goods from outside the union.
"Businesses know that crashing out of the Customs Union will be a catastrophe for jobs and employment in this country, but the Government seems determined to drive us off the cliff regardless", he said.
The Number 10 officials, according to the Times, predicted Michael Gove and David Davis would accept remaining in the customs union and Johnson and Liam Fox would be likely to quit - both have been very public in their opposition.
Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt also said that PM's position on the customs union had been consistent. What's curious about this dissing of the customs partnership plan is that it was trumpeted by DExEU itself (along with a more complicated "hi-tech" solution of "highly streamlined" customs checks) as an answer to the problem of avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland. In comments released beforehand, he said: "We will work with old allies and new partners across the world, utilizing the UK's economic strength and diplomatic prowess to forge new trading relationships". Even last week, amid the Windrush saga and rows over bombing in Syria, the pesky House of Lords ensured that the question of our future outside the European Union managed to grab the headlines.
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