The government has announced that a decision on the UK’s position on the customs union will be made next week.
Today’s announcement should be taken with a pinch of salt, however, as the government has said the decision will be made ‘next week’ three times now.
On Wednesday 2nd May the cabinet voted 6-5 in favour of a Brexit ‘maximum facilitation’ plan for the customs union, however, a final decision was delayed until the following week.
A week later, on Tuesday 8th May, the customs union was not discussed during the cabinet meeting and was again delayed until the next week. Two days later, the Prime Minister cancelled plans to discuss the customs union.
This brings us to today, where during a Cabinet sub-committee meeting, the decision was set to be announced ‘next week’.
Theresa May has reportedly rejected plans to stay in the customs union. Such a partnership would restrict the UK from making free trade deals, effectively destroying chances of a real Brexit.
However, ministers are at war over two customs proposals. The customs partnership – Mrs May’s preferred option – would see the UK collect tariffs on behalf of the EU and then pay them back. Brexiteers regard the proposal as unworkable and cumbersome – and they were joined by Sajid Javid and Gavin Williamson in criticising it at a tense ‘War Cabinet’ meeting last week.
The second option – maximum facilitation, or ‘Max Fac’, would see technology used to help ease trade with the EU for ‘trusted traders’.
But whips also fear Theresa May has no chance of getting the Brexiteers’ ‘Maximum Facilitation’ proposal through the Commons. At least a dozen Tory Remainer rebels are threatening to side with Labour in a looming vote on whether to stay in the customs union.
It is essential we are able to do our own trade deals and are governed by British law. This is what we voted for!
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