Brexit-backer Fox offers argument for keeping United Kingdom in customs union

Hugh Fox
April 25, 2018

Reports are suggesting that Theresa May could be willing to U-turn on the Customs Union.

The UK has previously declared that once it withdraws from the European Union, it would no longer fall under European Court of Justice jurisdiction, but now Barnier has revealed that the EU will insist on ongoing judicial oversight for the court remain part of any prospective Brexit deal.

"If a meaningful amendment is to be on the table and the government is to respect that amendment, which by definition is what makes it meaningful, a very meaningful amendment would be that we want to have a deal with the European Union but we don't think the deal government has brought back from Brussels is satisfactory and we therefore instruct government to go back and get another deal".

Downing Street dismissed suggestions an upcoming parliamentary showdown over the issue will effectively be a vote of confidence in the PM.

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The UK's parliament will vote on an official exit treaty at a later date, at which point it will have the power to veto any such agreement.

The DUP were not given notice of the trip either but the Brexit department spokesperson said the Northern Ireland Office had been informed ahead of the visit.

The House of Lords has voted in favor of staying in the customs union and while the vote isn't binding it will probably embolden Tory rebels in the House of Commons to vote the same way.

Labour has called for the United Kingdom to join a new customs union after Brexit, saying it would leave the current one but negotiate a treaty afterwards that would "do the work of the customs union". May and her Brexit-supporting Conservative colleagues want to leave the EU's tariff regime to allow the U.K.to break free of the bloc's trade policy and strike new deals with countries including the U.S.

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The Withdrawal Agreement states that Northern Ireland will remain in the EU's customs union if the a hard border can not be avoided through a trade deal that would make customs checks unnecessary.

He also saw a former customs post between counties Armagh and Monaghan.

Stephen Kelly, the chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said it would be impossible to prevent the products - which are banned by the European Union - from slipping into the Republic of Ireland, which made customs checks inevitable.

"The people I represent are also anxious and they deserve better than having to wait many months for some certainty". And in the end, lawmakers could decide to keep the U.K.in the European customs union against the prime minister's will.

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It follows defeats for Mrs May during the passage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill over membership of the customs union and protection of workers' rights after Brexit.

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