London (AFP) – A senior British minister has doubts on Thursday over the government's plans not to be in a customs union with the EU after Brexit, as MEPs step up pressure for a change of strategy.
Minister of the Interior Amber Rudd told reporters during a lunch in London, "We have a few more conversations … to reach a final position."
"We are leaving the Customs Union and will not join a customs union," he said, reiterating that such an agreement would restrict Britain's ability would sign their own trade agreement.
Rudd later explained her position and said she was reluctant to refer to "ongoing cabinet talks about our future trade relationship."
However, speculation is growing over the government's position as the clock is ticking until October, its self-imposed deadline for approval (19659007) Pro-European MPs say there is a growing support for a turnaround, and many participated in Thursday in a debate of the House of Commons in support of a customs union.
Supporters – Including the opposition Labor Party and the CBI Group – would help maintain free trade with the EU.
It would also help to avoid new controls on goods crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the EU member Ireland some fears could mess up the fragile peace on the island.
But tough Brexit advocates say the attempt is an attempt to thwart Britain's withdrawal, and Rudd's anger was upset by Eurosceptics.
A member of the ruling Conservative Party, Peter Bone, tweeted, "We can not let the Home Secretary support this Brexit key project!"
– Parliamentary elections are taking place –
The lower house motion urged the ministers to "establish an effective customs union" to one of their objectives in Brexit negotiations
"It seems quite perverted that we are at a time when "We want to increase free trade, a whole series of barriers to access in the best free trade area in the world," said Conservative MP Anna Soubry.
Few pro-Brexit legislators participated, and there was no vote, but the debate was considered a dress rehearsal for other impending parliamentary struggles.
Brussels has hinted that the pro-Europeans in the UK have become more and more courageous in recent weeks.
MEPs will hold a binding vote in May or June to change the Customs Union, which was tabled by the unelected US House of Lords EU bill last week setting the legal framework for Brexit
The Ministers are concerned by an amendment to the government's long-delayed trade and customs regulations calling on ministers to "take all necessary steps" Customs Union  The motion is signed by 10 Conservative MPs, of whom at least three are in favor of further support and threaten the slim parliamentary majority of the government.
– Irish border threat –
Proponents believe a new customs union is the only way to solve the problem of the Irish border and reject the government's proposals for a technological solution
Britain has a "backstop" Solution whereby Northern Ireland adapts its customs legislation to that of the EU if there is no other way around the border
But the Democratic Union Party, whose 10 MPs are vital to the parliamentary majority in Parliament, has warned against this she would withdraw her support if Northern Ireland would receive a separate status.
"For us, that would be a red line, we would vote against the government," said senior DUP legislator Nigel Dodds on the ConservativeHome website.