Just hours after Jeremy Corbyn said he wanted Britain to negotiate a new customs union with the EU to ensure tariff-free trade after Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told Reuters that Britain will not seek to enter a customs union with the European Union after it leaves the bloc next year.
“The government will not be joining a customs union. We want to have the freedom to sign our own trade deals and to reach out into the world,” the spokesman said today.
In his speech at Coventry University today, the Labour leader said his party wanted “a new, comprehensive UK-EU customs union” after Brexit as this would avoid the need for a “hard border” in Northern Ireland and ensure free-flowing trade for business.
The Labour leader had said: “Labour would seek a final deal that gives full access to European markets and maintains the benefits of the single market and the customs union… with no new impediments to trade and no reduction in rights, standards and protections.
“We have long argued that a customs union is a viable option for the final deal. So Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union to ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland.”
“Labour respects the result of the referendum and Britain is leaving the EU. But we will not support any Tory deal that would do lasting damage to jobs, rights and living standards.”