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Leaving the Eu: Customs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:16 pm on 16th May 2018.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 6:16 pm, 16th May 2018

With so much mistrust towards politicians, it is important that we all support transparency wherever possible. It prevents abuses of power and is vital for a healthy parliamentary democracy—a clear reason why so many people voted to leave. It is therefore very strange that the Government, who support leaving, are now acting in such a non-transparent way. Why are they against transparency? What do they have to hide? Here is the reason: since 2016 the Government have still not moved on from their position of having their cake and eating it.

The Cabinet are having an internal row about whether to support a technological solution or the idea of a customs partnership. The European Union has already rejected both proposals as being in la-la land. In the case of the technological solution, nowhere in the world is there a customs border without physical border checks. The only exception is the border between Alaska and Canada, separated by thousands of miles of ice. If the technology existed, why would countries such as Norway and Sweden, or the US and Canada, not use it?

A customs partnership would still be de facto a hard border and would not solve the issue of the Irish border. That is contrary to what the Prime Minister promised in the joint statement in December 2017.