Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Labour would seek to replicate customs union post Brexit

Labour would seek to replicate customs union post Brexit

Her move comes as Jeremy Corbyn reportedly prepares to officially commit Labour to joining a customs union with the EU following Brexit.

Theresa May will make a speech on the UK's future relationship with the European Union next Friday.

"We leave and then we have to negotiate a new agreement that, we think, is likely to be a customs union that will look pretty much like the current customs union".

However, Jeremy Corbyn will make a keynote Brexit speech on Monday, in which he is set to back staying in a customs union in order to protect British jobs and the invisible border between Northern Ireland and island of Ireland.

The Health Secretary revealed that the Government was putting itself on a collision course with Tory Brexit rebels who are backing an amendment to the Trade Bill which would mandate the United Kingdom to form a customs union with Brussels on leaving the EU.

Ms Thornberry made it clear Labour wanted close ties to Brussels, telling LBC: 'Technically, because we are leaving the European Union we can't be in the customs union that we are in now.

Asked if there was any possibility of the government coming round to the idea of a customs union with the EU after Brexit, he replied: "No".

The eight-hour meeting of the Brexit "war cabinet" at Chequers was called to plot a way forward after Tory tensions went public, but the Prime Minister was threatened with a fresh challenge to her authority from pro-Europe Conservative backbenchers.

Despite "divergent views" there was a "central common understanding is that there will be areas and sectors of industry where we agree to align our regulations with European regulations, such as the automotive industry".

"When we try to convince Prime Minister May to come forward with her vision of the future, I don't think the three-basket approach is what we have in mind", a senior European Union diplomat added.

The EU says Britain can not have a selective access to its single market or customs union, saying the more rights it will have vis-a-vis the bloc in the future, the more obligations it must accept as well.

Of the government, he said: "If they are not going to change their position they are going to lose votes in the House of Commons, it's a straightforward as that". In an article on his website, he attacked those politicians who, he said, were "prepared to sacrifice the Good Friday Agreement on the altar of Brexit and declare that the peace agreed in Northern Ireland is not, really, worth having anyway".

Meanwhile, Downing Street has dismissed reports Mrs May is readying for a u-turn on the rights of European Union migrants who come to Britain during the Brexit transition period.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who chairs the European Research Group of backbench Tory Eurosceptics, said such a U-turn from the PM would be "unconscionable".

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