Labour will support a new customs union with the EU – a deal that will limit Britain’s ability to strike deals with other countries after Brexit, it’s claimed.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit policy chief, said today ‘crunch time is coming for the Prime Minister’ and Theresa May faces a potential rebellion over her position on her customs union policy.
Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the 55-year-old said: ‘The customs arrangements at the moment are hard-wired into the membership treaty so I think everyone now recognises there has to be a new treaty.
‘It will do the work of the customs union as it’s a customs union.
‘The Labour front bench put down a number of amendments paving the way for the option of a customs union – they went down a few weeks ago.
‘Now these cross-party amendments have gone down essentially saying the same thing and to put it bluntly crunch time is coming for the Prime Minister. The majority of Parliament does not back her approach to a customs union.’
Sir Starmer said Labour backed staying in a customs union to preserve trade in its biggest markets after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, and because it is the best way of avoiding the return of a hard border on Ireland.
Jeremy Corbyn is expected to clarify his party’s stance on Brexit during a keynote speech on Monday. It will also address his plans to strengthen the UK’s economy, it is understood.
However, Mrs May has insisted the UK’s best days ‘really do lie ahead of us’ under the Tories. She will hold a special Cabinet meeting on Thursday ahead of her own keynote speech on Britain’s exit from the EU.