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Minister: Britain will not join a customs union after Brexit

Europe
23.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
London (dpa) - Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May‘s cabinet has agreed that Britain will not join any customs union after it leaves the European Union, a minister said on Friday, putting the government at odds with pro-EU Conservative rebels.

May held a meeting of senior ministers to discuss differences over Brexit on Thursday, ahead of a speech to reaffirm her latest position next Friday.

Anticipation is growing that opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will use a speech on Monday to indicate a shift in his policy and support Britain negotiating a new customs arrangement once it leaves the EU customs union in March 2019.

If Corbyn changes his position, most Labour lawmakers are likely to vote with Conservative rebels who have tabled an amendment to May‘s trade bill in parliament, to keep Britain in a form of customs union with the EU.

But Health Minister Jeremy Hunt told told BBC Radio 4‘s Today programme that the government is determined that Britain will "take back control of our laws."

"And I think the key point here is that it‘s perfectly possible to have frictionless trade without being in a customs union," said Hunt, who is a cabinet member but was not at Thursday‘s meeting.

Asked if the government could compromise if it faces a likely defeat in parliament on the trade bill, he said: "No, because if we were a part of the customs union, we wouldn‘t be able to negotiate trade deals independently with other countries and we wouldn‘t have full sovereign control of our destiny as a nation."

 

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