Green MEP on Customs Union: Amber signal for stay or go?

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, is calling on the Government to commit to Customs Union membership post- Brexit, after the Home Secretary Amber Rudd suggested the Government’s Customs Union position was up for discussion.

Before yesterday’s commons’ debate in which MPs, including rebel Conservatives, passed a motion calling on the Government to keep Britain in the Customs Union post-Brexit, Amber Rudd had already appeared to prepare the ground for a U-turn when questioned by the press.

Asked about her views on the prospects of the UK being in a customs union post-Brexit, Ms. Rudd replied:

“I’m not going to be drawn on that. We still have a few discussions to be had in a really positive, consensual and easy way among some of my cabinet colleagues in order to arrive at a final position.”

The Home Secretary’s comments came after the Government had suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Lords on the issue.

Responding to the debate and Ms. Rudd’s comment, Keith Taylor, whose South East European Parliamentary region overlaps with the Hastings and Rye MP’s constituency, said:

“It’s almost two years since the EU referendum. Yet, in the same week the European Commission expressed its deep concerns about the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s lack of preparations for carrying over Britain’s existing free trade deals after Brexit, the Home Secretary revealed the Government still hasn’t settled on a position on the Customs Union.”

“Almost every day, the Government seems to go out of its way to expose the fact it hasn’t got a clue what it’s doing.”

The senior Green politician, who welcomed the Customs Union motion passed by MPs, added:

“Thankfully, in the face of embarrassment in the Commons and defeat in the House of Lords, Ministers’ dithering, on this occasion, could and should prepare the ground for an extremely welcome U-turn on Britain’s membership of the Customs Union.”

“Customs Union membership is an economic no-brainer and the only actual and viable solution put forward to maintain the frictionless border necessary to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and protect peace in Northern Ireland. Not to mention the only way to avoid port chaos at Dover which would turn much of Kent into a carpark post-Brexit.”

“After months and months of ‘no Customs Union’ rhetoric, if Ministers are finally accepting membership is in the best interests of the people of Britain, then, perhaps, the Government’s shambolic approach to Brexit, in this one small regard, might have an upside after all.”

Keith Taylor MEP is a member of the European Parliament’s Peace Process Support Group.