Leaked minutes indicate government could push for Customs Union membership

Written by Harry Johnson

After receiving fierce criticism from the opposition due to a lack of a clear Brexit strategy it appears that the government’s Brexit strategy has at last surfaced with an anonymous source providing the details to the Telegraph. According to the comments made by the Brexit Secretary the government might override “multiple agreements with the European Union”, which may encompass areas such as aviation, the European arrest warrant and a slew of other agreements previously made by successive Conservative-lead governments.

The Telegraph believes that should the Minister’s plan come to fruition the United Kingdom could expect a much softer deal more akin to the current Status Quo. It is also possible that the government may elect to remain in the ECAA and thus maintain at least partial ECJ jurisdiction over the UK.

The Minister of State expresses his desire to stay in the customs union and ‘as many of the European organisations as we possibly can’

Most damningly however the leaked minutes indicate that the government may wish to stay in the European Customs Union and potentially in the single market as is prerequisite for a Norway plus deal proposed by the Minister. The Minister also made the claims that the UK should stay in as many EU institutions as possible and thus he preferred an EFTA or Norway deal.  It is also unclear whether the government will keep the freedom of movement according to the leaked minutes. 

However, given that the government has proposed to overturn points-based immigration and that any EFTA or Norway deal would most likely require Single Market membership it is highly likely that the government will indeed pursue freedom of movement. 

According to the analysts at the Telegraph, it would be very difficult for the government to actually carry out such an agenda without seeking an additional extension, given the sheer volume of negotiations that would have to be redone. The Telegraph has also  reached out to the Libertarian Party’s Spokesman for Trade for a comment on the issue:

“This is extremely worrying and frankly put frustrating for any Brexit ever regardless of the color of their tie. The British public has voted to leave the EU fully over 4 times now, twice in the Brexit and Single Market referendums. Yet what seems to be on offer from the government is a remain minus proposal that would keep us trapped in the EU without representation almost indefinitely. What shocks me the most however is the proposal to remain in the Customs Union. 

Whether you want a soft or hard Brexit you should most definitely oppose this move. A customs union only deal will prevent Britain from forging new ambitious trade deals as we will still be bound to Brussel’s strict tariff policy. In the case of Turkey, this has effectively trapped them in a system where they have all the downsides of being in the EU with zero of the benefits. It’s a fool’s errand really.  It is also questionable whether  staying in the EU can safeguard the GFA any better than the current Irish protocol since the customs union does not guarantee free movement and thus would most likely require us to stay in the Single Market too in what is a remain minus deal that no-one has voted for

This shambles of a proposal only proves why we need the Brexit integrity bill  on the floor pronto. This government is determined to take the easy way and squander the once in a lifetime opportunity to improve our position in the world with a poor deal’’

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