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Labour for a Customs Union with the EU


The British Labour Party, the main opposition party, is for the creation of a new Customs Union with the European Union after Brexit. This would be calculated based on the current policy, Labour’s Brexit referent Keir Starmer said on Sunday.

Mr Starmer said Labour “unanimously” shared this opinion and it will be confirmed on Monday in a speech by the Party’s Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“The current Customs policy is part of the treaty to join the European Union. I think that everyone now recognises a new treaty will be needed. It will effectively be a Customs Union”, he told the BBC. “We will need a new agreement, but will it work the same as the current Customs Union? Yes, that is the intention”, he said.

“In fact, it’s the only way to gain access to the European Market without Customs duties”. This is “very important for our manufacturing sector”, the Labour Party MP in charge of Brexit explained. He also said that without a Customs Union, it would be impossible for the UK to honour its commitment not to install a hard border between the British Province of Northern Ireland and the neighbouring Republic of Ireland after it leaves the EU.

In the summer of 2017 Labour said it wanted to keep the UK in the European Single Market during a transition period after the UK’s exit from the EU, which is planned for March 2019. Everything is a bit up in the air about the UK’s position after Brexit. On Sunday, more than 80 Labour figures – MPs, EMPs, local councillors or Unionists – called on Jeremy Corbyn to also commit to keeping the UK in the European Single Market after that, which would allow the free movement of goods, people, capital and services.

As far as the UK drawing up new trade agreements after Brexit, Keir Starmer told the BBC that “working with the EU” would be more efficient. The British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of her vision of a Post-Brexit partnership between the UK and the EU on Friday the 2nd of March.

London said it wanted to quit the Single Market and the Customs Union, end free movement for immigrants and the jurisdiction of the European Human Rights Court. At the same time Theresa May wants to negotiate an agreement that would reduce Customs duties and administration as much as possible.

Sarah Johansson
The Brussels Times