EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier welcomes Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn
OLIVIER HOSLET /AFP
25 February, 2018, 21:04
The U.K. Labour Party said it wants Britain to seek a new customs agreement with the European Union after Brexit, piling pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May by leaving her at the mercy of rebels in her own Conservative Party who also want such a deal with the bloc.
There were clear indications Sunday that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will change course and advocate remaining in a customs union after Britain's departure from the EU to cushion the potential economic blow.
"It's the only way to get tariff-free access, it's really important for our manufacturing base, and nobody can answer your question of how you keep your commitment to [having] no hard border in Northern Ireland without a customs union".
Even though Britain will probably exit the custom union, they will hold discussions on a treaty that is likely to "do the work of the customs union".
"But will it do the work of the current customs union?"
The move to abandon a customs union sets up a clash in the Commons with pro-soft Brexit MPs, led by Tory rebel Anna Soubry.
"Now these cross-party amendments have gone down essentially saying the same thing and to put it bluntly crunch time is coming for the Prime Minister".
The customs union "puts a frontier around Europe and it means that we all apply the same duties to goods coming in", Fox said.
The group, including eminent Labor politician Peter Mandelson and trade union leaders Bill Morris and Tony Young, also warned that "we can only properly fund services, schools, hospitals, social care and global development if our businesses thrive and our economy grows".
More than 80 senior figures from across the Labour Party have signed a statement warning Mr Corbyn that key policies would be unaffordable if the United Kingdom leaves the single market.
Aiming to establish Labour's stance on the matter, Mr. Corbyn is scheduled for a speech to be delivered on Monday.
If Corbyn and Labour clearly support a customs union, it would give the party a different approach from the one favored by May, who has said repeatedly that Britain will leave both the customs union and the single market.
"For the sake of building a better Britain and safeguarding those our party was founded to protect, we must grab this chance before it is too late".
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