Theresa May told ministers to get 'hands on' over customs dispute

Doug Mendoza
May 14, 2018

She said: 'You can trust me to deliver.

Theresa May has today promised to "deliver the Brexit people voted for" after another week of infighting in her cabinet.

The group is urging MPs from all parties to table amendments to the Government's Brexit legislation with the aim of securing the softest possible exit from the EU.

"Nearly two years after the referendum the cabinet is fighting over two customs options, neither of which frankly are workable, neither of which are acceptable to the European Union, and if either of which were put to the vote in parliament, they probably wouldn't carry a majority", he said on the same programme.

Speaking less than a week after fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson called the proposal "crazy", the Environment Secretary claimed the policy would leave the United Kingdom acting as the EU's "tax collector".

There are two options under consideration.

The other will look at the "customs partnership" - thought to be the Prime Minister's preferred option and supported by ministers who backed Remain - which would see Britain continue to collect tariffs on behalf of the EU.

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They prefer the "maximum facilitation" model that relies on technology to minimise border checks, which critics say can not resolve the Irish border issue and would require lengthy development of sophisticated new technology.

In their article, they wrote that a hard Brexit was economically irresponsible and "a path to a fantasy island" which would leave the United Kingdom with a "diminished standing in the world".

"The Prime Minister was very clear we needed to have hands on involvement by ministers", Mr Lidington said.

'I will ensure that we take back control of our borders.

Meanwhile, Mrs May has put off sending a key piece of Brexit legislation to the House of Commons after peers repeatedly defeated the government as it passed through the upper House of Lords.

Labour's Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said neither of the options would work and claimed it was "farcical" that the cabinet was fighting over them. The Commons debates, when they come, are likely to expose her predicament even further - she's stuck between a likely majority for a customs union, and the more than 60 lawmakers in her Conservative Party threatening to derail her government if she goes for one.

The Prime Minister is committed to leaving the current customs union when Britain exits the EU on 29 March next year, but has yet to announce an agreed position on its replacement.

Other reports by GizPress

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