Customs union showdown is important - here's why

David Davis

"You can't be in the customs union and have your own free trade deals".

According to the report, the PM and her top aides "will not be crying into our beer" if Parliament forces such an outcome on the Government.

The Prime Minister's office has reportedly responded to the pressure coming from the party's right-wing by suggesting that an upcoming parliamentary vote on whether Britain will remain in the Customs Union will be a "confidence vote" in the government itself, suggesting that a defeat would lead to the collapse of the government and not just Mrs May's leadership.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove tweeted yesterday that "the referendum vote was clear - we need to take back control of trade - that means leaving the protectionist customs union".

What is the argument for staying in the customs union?

It's thought that she may be considering keeping the United Kingdom in the Customs Union - a Labour policy - which would make dealing with the Ireland border issue easier for her.

Ministers argued that including the Charter - which guarantees certain human rights for all EU citizens - in the bill would continue to give the European Court of Justice some say over the United Kingdom statute book after Brexit.

The main topic will be a discussion of the U.K.'s aims for global trade after Brexit, according to the official, and will nearly certainly involve consideration of the customs deal the country will seek to reach with the bloc.

Yet John Redwood, the Tory backbencher, said on Monday he did not feel that Downing Street's reiteration of the plan to leave any form of customs union had been necessary.

It was one of two options outlined to minimise friction on the Irish border and allow Britain to pursue trade deals with third-parties during her address.

Earlier this year, a leaked government report predicted that leaving the customs union would reduce the growth of the United Kingdom economy by up to 8% over the next 15 years.

Those in favour of remaining in the customs union argue that cutting trading ties would severely damage the United Kingdom economy.

Who supports leaving the customs union?

The Confederation of British Industry has called for the United Kingdom to remain in the customs union, while the Labour Party has also backed a similar arrangement.

Crucially, keeping the customs union would also "go some way to resolving the thorny question of the Irish border, and would allow the United Kingdom to keep its red line of controlling immigration", says Bloomberg.

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