Brexit: May rules out Corbyn's customs union plan - minister

11 Février, 2019, 19:21 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

Labour has asked for "a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union" with the EU, with the same external tariff.

Mrs May said securing frictionless trade for goods was "one of our key negotiating objectives".

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said it would give MPs more time to "digest the content" ahead of a series of expected Commons votes on Thursday.

Writing her response to his letter of last Wednesday, Mrs May told the Labour leader: "It is good to see that we agree that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union with a deal and that the urgent task at hand is to find a deal that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland, can command support in Parliament and can be negotiated with the EU - not to seek an election or second referendum".

It comes after Mr Corbyn last week set out five Brexit demands to the Prime Minister, among which included the United Kingdom joining a permanent customs union with the European Union.

"The fundamental negotiating challenge here is the EU's position that completely frictionless trade is only possible if the United Kingdom stays in the single market", she said.

"Of course we always want to work with the opposition but the opposition has put forward some ideas that are not workable", he told reporters. Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, indicated she would resign if this happened.

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While the prime minister made it plain she did not want this, several newspapers on Monday said May had held open the door to the issue, and thus the idea of a softer Brexit.

"I absolutely do not think that should be our policy", she told Sky News on Sunday.

In a further ominous sign for the Prime Minister, the influential European Research Group of Conservative Brexiteers was advising its members not to comment on Mrs May's decision to find common ground with Mr Corbyn.

"They will just try to do a deal that is toxic".

Asked if May thus realised she needed more Labour votes, Stewart said: "Certainly, the maths suggest that to get this through we're going to need support from all around the house".

"It is very clear from the European Union that non-EU members do not have a say in EU trade policy so to pretend that you could do so is a unsafe delusion".

Later on Monday, the Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, will go to Brussels to meet the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, following the PM's meetings in Brussels last week.

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