15:14Theresa May Stares Down Revolt Over EU Customs Union

23 April, 2018, 21:59 | Author: Jason Torres
  • The Tory MP

Opponents say it would stop Britain from being able to sign new free trade deals after Brexit, while supports argue it would protect jobs and go some way to preserving the invisible Irish border. Staying in the customs union would nearly certainly prompt pro-Brexit lawmakers to submit letters calling for a leadership vote.

Business leader Paul Drechsler did not mince his words after Sajid Javid called for Britain to leave the customs union.

As more and more time is being wasted in the pursuit around fanciful solutions, the time for decisions shrinks and the stakes get ever higher.

If MPs also vote in favor of remaining in the customs union with the bloc, it could trigger a challenge to May's leadership from Brexit campaigners in the Conservative Party.

"Trying to keep us in a customs union would be deeply divisive in the party, the Commons and the country at large", Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Euroskeptic Conservatives, told The Sunday Telegraph.

Number 10 has rubbished claims that Theresa May will make next month's vote on the customs union a matter of confidence.

The alternative is a one-sided system whereby the bloc grants market access if a foreign country's rules are fully aligned with its own.

Mrs May last week suffered a defeat at the hands of peers in the House of Lords when they backed an amendment to compel ministers to explain what they have done to ensure that Britain can remain in a customs union after leaving the EU.

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This combined with last week's vote in the House of Lords to force a government rethink on customs union membership has resulted in what appears to be a multi-front push to keep the United Kingdom in the customs union.

"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.

Meanwhile the Times reports that Theresa May is facing pressure from Brexit-supporting ministers on the customs issue.

He said Switzerland - deemed a "third country" in the eyes of European Union authorities - has long since ironed out any technical issues that might impede it from having its regulatory system recognised as equivalent to the bloc's own.

"Our constructive view on the Brexit negotiations also support medium-term GBP upside as the tail risks of a disruptive exit continue to fall and customs unions arrangements can not be ruled out", says Athanasios Vamvakidis, an FX Strategist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.

"Ultimately, our task is to remove the unnecessary regulation, bureaucracy and red tape that inhibit the free trade in services".

While EU policymakers have so far rejected the idea, saying it has never been done before on such a scale, leading figures in Britain's financial sector reinforced their backing on Monday for the plan.


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