PM warns her ministers to stay away from customs union talks

Daniel Kawczynski

And Bloomberg reported this week that the United Kingdom could have a say on trade if it stayed in the customs union - the sort of bespoke arrangement that May has previously suggested might work.

Prime Minister Theresa May is not taking any chances, allegedly ordering her ministers not to show up at a backbencher vote on Britain trade bloc membership later this week.

As the House of Commons prepares to vote on a motion on customs & borders today (26 April), the UK's Freight Transport Association (FTA) has issued a statement "reminding MPs that forming a customs union with the EU would not remove the need for checks at the borders or deliver frictionless arrangements on its own". I wasn't going to get into ongoing cabinet discussions about our future trading relationship'.

He said: "Amber Rudd appears to have let slip that discussions around the Cabinet table about negotiating a customs union with the EU have not in fact concluded".

"A customs union would change the dynamic between Britain and the EU".

It came in report stage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and after two big defeats at the hands of the Lords last week.

And the government is facing a series of parliamentary showdowns on the customs union.

British lawmakers stepped up pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May over her Brexit strategy on Thursday, criticising her refusal to pursue a customs union with the European Union.

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Alternative customs arrangements for the Irish border either don't exist, have not been invented, or have not been negotiated, and thus Britain will stay inside the EU customs union post-Brexit, Credit Suisse says.

"This House has a responsibility not to give the executive more power than is necessary", Lord (Peter) Goldsmith told peers before they voted.

Since losing her Conservatives' majority in parliament in an ill-judged election a year ago, the prime minister is dependent on a small Northern Irish party which opposes a backstop agreement with the European Union that would see the province become more aligned with the bloc than with mainland Britain.

He said the red lines set out by Mrs May in her Mansion House speech last month - leaving the single market and customs union - were "closing doors".

The main issue here is that we don't want to be any closer to the European Union than any other Country in the World, as we need free trade deals with all Countries.

It says the EU is the UK's largest market for goods, with £145bn of exports and £241bn of imports in 2016 and hails the importance of avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the role of a customs union in achieving that.

The Prime Minister does not have huge personal support among her MPs, and there are many on both the pro- and anti-Brexit sides who would like to see her gone from Downing Street.

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