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Customs duties

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 20th December 2017.

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Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South 7:15 pm, 20th December 2017

That intervention—I will finish on this point—gets to the crux of new clause 13, because we will have to have a border.

I will keep making in this House the same argument that the Minister and his colleagues in this House made when they stood on the same platform as me during the Scottish independence referendum. They consistently said that if the UK was split up and Scotland came out of the UK single market, there would have to be a border at Berwick. Why? Because there would be different arrangements for customs, regulatory matters, the free movement of people and goods.

How can Ministers now stand at the Dispatch Box with a straight face and say that none of this now applies either to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or indeed to Gibraltar? There is no answer to that question because, again, the Government’s red lines and their narrative do not fit with where they want to go on the final negotiations. We cannot have frictionless free trade while having differential arrangements on customs or regulatory alignment: it just does not work. If the Minister wants to intervene on me to tell me how it will work, rather than just using narrative and rhetoric—and anybody can understand how it will actually work—I would be happy to agree with him.