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Leaving the Eu: Customs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:41 pm on 16th May 2018.

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Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 6:41 pm, 16th May 2018

That is a fair assessment from my right hon. Friend.

As Members have mentioned already, we have been told by the Brexit Secretary that:

“Faced with intractable problems with political pressure for a solution, the government reaches for a headline grabbing high-tech ‘solution’. Rather than spend the resources, time and thought necessary to get a real answer, they naively grasp solutions that to the technologically illiterate ministers look like magic.”

It is not me who is suggesting that the Brexit Secretary has not acquired the technical prowess to rocket us into this scientific utopia; it is the Brexit Secretary himself. The Government’s search for a magical fix to questions of such seriousness as the Northern Irish border leads us to believe that it is now in the public interest for Parliament itself to scrutinise the two options proposed by the Prime Minister. To do so, we must have access to the necessary information: in this case, the information contained in the papers, presentations and analyses provided to the Cabinet on each of these proposals.

Labour’s position is clear. We would negotiate a customs union that would ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU, deliver the exact same benefits as we currently have with members of the single market and customs union, ensure the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities, defend the rights of workers and environmental protections, prevent a race to the bottom, protect national security and our capacity to tackle cross-border crime and deliver for all the regions. Let us then expose the Government’s total failure to reach a feasible negotiating position and in the process move one step forward to the goal of a new customs union with the EU, which is a position, I suspect, that is backed by Members across the House and one that meets all the key conditions of a final exit settlement.