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Brexit Weekly Briefing: The Customs Union is fast becoming a big problem | politics



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Top News

Are you staying or not staying in the Customs Union? (And if you're not sure what that is and why it matters, here's a practical guide.) That quickly becomes a question after the government has suffered humiliating defeats in the Lords.

Above all, and with the support of 24 Tories, including three former ministers, advocated a change in the EU exit law that would force the government to explain what it has done to stay in a union.

Theresa May has come under intense pressure to reiterate the UK's membership of a customs union that has been one of the government's red lines ever since its Lancaster House speech last January.

The Ministers made strong calls for a tight early vote in the House this week after 1

0 select committee chairmen The Conservatives – submitted an application urging the government "to include as an objective in the negotiations … the creation of an effective Customs Union ".

According to rumors that the prime minister was ready to accept, to stay, pro-Brexiters lined up to warn darkly of a betrayal that they said it would bring about a political crisis, Downing Street was forced to rule out any turnaround.

Unfortunately, the economy wants a customs union. For example, Labor, the Irish government (because it would help to solve this troublesome border problem) and the EU, which in turn rejected the United Kingdom's proposed border proposals, added and added that Brexit talks could still fail. So, Theresa: no pressure.

In other news, the government on Monday suffered its third Brexit defeat in the Lords in less than a week (excluding EU rights under national law), and talks on future EU-UK relations came finally somewhat unspectacular in progress.

Best of the rest

Top Commentary

In the Guardian, Rafael Behr argues that May is chasing a Brexit of a fantasy and now needs to change course to find a reasonable compromise – nobody will be completely happy, but a brave prime minister would do what was right:


May is not a grandmaster. The customs case was not difficult to recognize. For the EU, it promised an invisible Irish border, and for Tory backbenchers, it promised the freedom to deviate from European regulation. These two things contradict each other. But May's mistake was earlier, when she decided not to deal with the hidden complexities of a project that was made easy by the question of the binary referendum. She has not accepted that there are other ways than the hardest to leave the EU. It would have considered staying on the internal market, the European Economic Area or the European Free Trade Association. These are real Brexits, but better matched to the 52:48 ratio. Instead, May was convinced that democracy demanded a formula closer to 100: 0. This is the least stable connection of all … May faced the choice between a fantasy Brexit, which serves only to satisfy a minority that is immune to satisfaction, and real Brexits that require compromise on each side. It was not an appealing decision, but not difficult either. Still, she chose bad. It would not be easy for them to change course now. But it is not too late.

In the FT (paywall), Gideon Rachman wonders if Brexit can be stopped because of the issue of the Customs Union, which is so critical because it marks the border between a "hard" and a "soft" deal.


Some British officials suspect that the Prime Minister secretly wishes the Commons to vote for a customs union, arguing that Ms. May knows that a customs union makes sense, but that she can not argue for that option at present Fear of provoking a rebellion by Tory Leavers On the other hand, if the Prime Minister's hand were forced by a parliamentary vote, it could "reluctantly" join a customs union, but the danger with this Machiavellian strategy is that it will fail Losing British sovereignty over trade policy could go too far for Tory Leavers Leading ministers like Boris Johnson, d he foreign minister, and Liam Fox, the trade secretary, are ready to retire on the subject. That could trigger a leadership challenge for Ms. May and the fall of the government. It is this situation that has led a leading British political analyst to tell me recently that Brexit will not happen because "there is no Brexit version that can get a parliamentary majority." My own conclusion is that nobody really knows. There are just too many uncertainties.

Top tweet

When the Liverpool manager comes in on Brexit, and not in a bad way:

Francis Grove-White
(@ f_grovewhite)

"There is not a single time in history where division succeeds … Let us think again [Brexit] and vote with the right information. "

Well said, Jürgen Klopp. #PeoplesVote https://t.co/YxykDbjNB1


23. April 2018


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