Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Boris Johnson tears into Prime Minister's "crazy" customs plan

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel speaking in the European Parliament today More Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel speaking in the European Parliament today More
Elsie Buchanan | 09 May, 2018, 07:47

The prime minister's spokesman added that the entire cabinet had signed up to the two customs models put forward by the government last August.

However in a bold step, Johnson has categorically rejected the idea.

Immediately Enterprise Secretary Greg Clark mentioned {that a} deal to interchange the customs relationship could be of "large significance", and warned that 1000's of jobs might be misplaced if we did not accomplish that.

Labour MP Rupa Huq, a supporter of the People's Vote campaign for a second European Union referendum, said: "Boris Johnson's description of Theresa May's preferred option of a "customs partnership" as a "crazy system" is typically intemperate but rooted in truth".

Mr Johnson used an interview with the Daily Mail while visiting Washington to attack the proposal, which would see the United Kingdom collect duties on behalf of Brussels while also being free to strike its own trade deals around the world.

Mr Johnson said a customs partnership scheme would not see the United Kingdom "taking back control" of its trade policy, laws, borders or money after Brexit, raising suggestions he could resign from Government if his objections are ignored.

Conservative Party ministers failed to agree on a customs arrangement last week.

While speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper from Washington, the foreign secretary called the "customs partnership" plan - under which the United Kingdom would collect tariffs on behalf the European Union - as a "crazy system".

Brexiteers want May to agree to a streamlined customs arrangement in which new technology and "trusted trader" schemes minimise the need for checks on goods at the border between the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Record Bank Holiday Monday temperatures expected in Scotland
Meanwhile, Wales saw a top temperature of 23.6C in Llysdinam, Powys, and in Scotland the mercury reached 21.8C in Edinburgh . Just before midday, BBC weather said the record for the hottest early Bank Holiday Monday had been beaten.


Her Remain colleague, Nicky Morgan, the former Education Secretary, also hit out at the "sabre-rattling and leadership threats" issued by Brexiteers and said the PM should not be "held hostage".

Pro-leave ministers, including Boris Johnson, advocate a maximum facilitation proposal, which means that customs checks are minimized with the help of new technologies so that firms would not have to pay duties every time their goods cross the border.

"We believe that there are ways to deal with this and indeed back in August previous year the government put forward various proposals - we were disappointed there was not the engagement from the European Union".

The Sunday Telegraph quoted a cabinet source saying it would be "unimaginable for the Prime Minister to press on with the hybrid model after it has been torn apart by members of her own Brexit committee".

"I think it is very clear that the British people voted to leave the customs union, that is our position as well", she said.

The interventions come as May faces two more parliamentary defeats on her Brexit plan as it nears its final stages in the House of Lords. The EU has dismissed both proposals.

Meanwhile, a further change has been proposed to the legislation that would require the Government to negotiate continued membership of the EEA.

Tuesday's amendment to the withdrawal bill has been tabled by the Labour peer Waheed Alli in a move that is infuriating party managers.

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