84% of Tory Members Opposed to Customs Union

Part-time Prime Minister Oliver Letwin is having another go at his ‘indicative votes’, with MPs set to vote on the same set of options they rejected last week. Funny how Remainers complaining about May bringing her deal back again haven’t been making the same fuss about Letwin’s antics…

ConHome have done their own set of indicative votes among the Tory membership, finding massive grassroots opposition to any of the options apart from No Deal. Nearly 90% are opposed to Customs Union membership, revoking Article 50 or a second referendum, while 79% oppose ‘Common Market 2.0’, with barely double figures in favour of them. It’s daft that otherwise sensible ministers and MPs are even thinking of adopting the worst possible Brexit outcome…

mdi-timer 1 April 2019 @ 10:40 1 Apr 2019 @ 10:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government Minister Backs Customs Union

Today Wimbledon MP and Government Health Minister Stephen Hammond has written to constituents expressing his support for “a Single Market and Customs Union style solution.” Stating that he believes that a “Hard Brexit and no deal are not acceptable outcomes”, Hammond is playing fast and loose with collective responsibility. The manifesto he was elected on, and the referendum result he purports to respect directly contradict him…

Hammond hinted yesterday that he would resign to try and prevent a No Deal Brexit. Today he has broken another manifesto commitment…

This is a big change of tune from last week when he was reportedly one of the linchpin backers of the Malthouse Compromise. The Government can’t allow Ministers of the Crown to go around freestyling like this if they are serious about getting the whole party on board…

mdi-timer 8 February 2019 @ 15:25 8 Feb 2019 @ 15:25 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sajid: I Am “Totally Against” a Customs Union

Firm line from Sajid against a customs union. It’s a “complete non-starter”…

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Fox: Customs Union “Would Not Be Delivering Brexit”

Trade Secretary Liam Fox has come out fighting against some senior Remainers in the Cabinet who are reportedly pushing for membership of the EU’s Customs Union. He told the BBC that Customs Union membership would not be delivering Brexit.

“We would have to apply European trade law without having a say in how it’s made, and we would also have to apply what’s called the common external tariff, which would restrict our ability to make agreements outside the European Union’s ability to do so. It would not be in my view delivering Brexit.”

Leaving the EU in control of our trade is the opposite of taking back control…

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Barnier’s Deputy Says Backstop Will Be Used to Lock UK In

Theresa May has often insisted that Brexiteers should simply swallow the backstop, unpalatable as it is, because there is little chance of it ever being used. This argument has taken a hammer-blow overnight with multiple reports from Brussels that Sabine Weyand, Barnier’s deputy who leads the EU’s negotiations at a technical level, has been telling EU ambassadors that the EU plans to use the backstop as the basis for the future relationship with the UK locked into the customs union and “level playing field” arrangements on social and environmental policy. Confirming all of Brexiteers’ warnings about the UK becoming a permanent vassal state…

According to The Times, Weyand told EU ambassadors:

“We should be in the best negotiation position for the future relationship. This requires the customs union as the basis of the future relationship… They must align their rules but the EU will retain all the controls. They apply the same rules. UK wants a lot more from future relationship, so EU retains its leverage.”

Weyand also said that the UK would be forced to concede on fisheries, one of the last remaining red lines May is attempting to cling to, saying that the UK “would have to swallow a link between access to products and fisheries in future agreements”. The gaping hole at the heart of the Government’s Brexit strategy is that it has not made any preparations to leave the customs union or single market in any meaningful sense. The EU knows this and is exploiting it mercilessly.

Ironically, the one thing it does do is bring the Government’s position almost entirely into line with Labour’s, the only difference being that the Government is still claiming that the customs union and level playing field arrangements will be temporary, while Labour – and evidently the EU – want them to be permanent. May has zero chance of getting the deal through Parliament on Tory and DUP votes alone, with the DUP further hardening their opposition to the deal overnight, however the Labour frontbench is still continuing to dangle the possibility of a shock decision to back the deal. This might be May’s only hoping of getting the deal through Parliament but it would surely signal the death knell of her leadership…

mdi-timer 14 November 2018 @ 08:58 14 Nov 2018 @ 08:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
No.10 Hard-Selling Backstop With Trade Bill Bluster

Guido hears that Number 10 has been telling Cabinet ministers that they must accept the backstop or else rebel MPs will amend the Trade Bill to force the UK to stay in a customs union outright. Not exactly sending out a strong signal that Downing Street believe the merits of the backstop will speak for themselves…

This appears a red herring to Guido for a number of reasons:

As the Labour Lords pointed out, the Government hasn’t even scheduled the Lords Committee stage of the Bill yet, so it will not be making its way back to the Commons any time soon. Any deal will likely be wrapped up long before it does…

Additionally, for all that Downing Street likes to play up the chances of being defeated in the Commons on a customs union, the fact is that every time the Commons has voted on a customs union in the past, there has been a majority against it.

And even if the Government is defeated on a customs union amendment, they can ultimately just drop the Trade Bill – there is nothing so essential in it that needs to be passed into statute right now. The Government has wriggle room on the Trade Bill, not on the backstop…

mdi-timer 8 November 2018 @ 12:37 8 Nov 2018 @ 12:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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