Wednesday, 20 February, 2019


Jeremy Corbyn dangerously deluded on customs union, say Brexiteers

Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin
Conrad Doyle | 12 February, 2019, 12:42

In today's Brexit Brief, British Prime Minister Theresa May responds to the Labour party with an offer of talks, MPs gear up for a Brexit debate on Thursday and Germany experiences job losses.

Britain's prime minister appears to have ruled out incorporating a key idea from the leader of the opposition Labour Party into her reworked Brexit withdrawal deal, according to Rory Stewart, the nation's prisons minister.

It is another chance for MPs to rebel against what Mrs May wants and try to shape where Brexit goes from here.

It also follows an exchange of letters between Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In response to Mr Corbyn's letter, Mrs May said she looked forward to Conservative and Labour teams meeting soon to consider "alternative arrangements" to the Northern Ireland backstop.

Mrs Leadsom said there was "no chance" Mrs May would adopt Mr Corbyn's "view of the world", adding: "The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear we're leaving the EU, we're leaving the customs union, we're leaving the single market".

European Union leaders have turned down Mrs May's plea to renegotiate parts of the legally binding Brexit withdrawal bill, making the no-deal outcome more likely even though both sides believe it would harm their economies.

British global trade secretary Liam Fox and Swiss Economy Minister Guy Parmelin signed the bilateral trade agreement in Bern on Monday.

"He's unclear as to whether he also wants to stop free movement, and of course the EU's view would be, 'well, if you're in the customs union then you have free movement and you abide by the common external tariff".

LEADING Brexiteers have condemned Jeremy Corbyn's proposals for a permanent customs union as a "dangerous delusion" that could leave Britain a colony of the EU.

I know that sounds nebulous, a word you might choose to use. 'They will just try to trap Theresa May.

"I think it must be pretty obvious that if you are going to have a time limit to the backstop, and I think that would be a very good thing, it's got to fall before the next election". But the former foreign secretary insisted the mechanism would need to expire before the next general election in 2022.

"I don't think that would be good enough", he said.

May's Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, traveled to Strasbourg on Monday to meet the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and talk about the Irish backstop issue, which aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic by binding the United Kingdom to European Union rules until a free-trade deal is inked, something critics fear could indefinitely trap the United Kingdom in a watered-down version of European Union membership. But Mr Barnier said "something has to give" on the British side to stop the United Kingdom crashing out.

Warning that some on the Remain side were indulging in "cakeism" - trying to have their cake and eat it - Ms Weyand said she saw "no majority for a referendum in the House of Commons".

Corbyn had earlier laid out five Labour Party conditions for supporting any revised Brexit deal.

Meanwhile Mrs May welcomed the Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, to Downing Street for talks on Monday evening.

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