EU VAT area and pre-commencement requirements

Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:13 pm on 16th July 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

“(1) It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government in negotiations on the matters specified in subsection (2) to maintain the United Kingdom’s participation in the EU Customs Union.

(2) Those matters are—

(a) the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and

(b) a permanent agreement with the European Union for a period subsequent to the transitional period after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to lay a report before the House of Commons in accordance with either subsection (4) or subsection (5).

(4) A report under this subsection shall be to the effect that the negotiating objective specified in subsection (1) has been achieved.

(5) A report under this subsection shall be to the effect that the negotiating objective specified in subsection (1) has not been achieved.

(6) If a report is laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (4), Parts 1 and 2 of this Act shall cease to have effect on the day after that day.

(7) If a report is laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (5), the provisions specified in section 55(1) come into force on the day after that day.

(8) No regulations may be made under section 55(2) for the purpose of appointing a day for the coming into force of paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 (replacement of EU customs duties) unless a report has been laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (5).” —(Anna Soubry.)

This new clause establishes a negotiating objective to maintain the UK’s participation in the EU Customs Union, provides for Parts 1 and 2 of the Act to expire if that objective is met and makes the ending of the retention of EU customs duties conditional upon a report stating that the objective has not been met.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe 5:16 pm, 16th July 2018

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 2—EU VAT area and pre-commencement requirements—

“(1) It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government in negotiations on the matters specified in subsection (2) to maintain the United Kingdom’s participation in the EU VAT Area under the arrangements set out through the Union Customs Code and its delegated and implementing legislation.

(2) Those matters are—

(a) the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and

(b) a permanent agreement with the European Union for a period subsequent to the transitional period after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to lay a report before the House of Commons in accordance with either subsection (4) or subsection (5).

(4) A report under this subsection shall be to the effect that the negotiating objective specified in subsection (1) has been achieved.

(5) A report under this subsection shall be to the effect that the negotiating objective specified in subsection (1) has not been achieved.

(6) If a report is laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (4), Part 3 of this Act shall cease to have effect on the day after that day.

(7) No regulations may be made for the commencement of provisions of Part 3 of this Act unless a report is laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (5).”

This new clause establishes a negotiating objective to maintain the UK’s participation in the EU VAT Area and provides for Part 3 of the Act to expire if that objective is met.

New clause 3— Import tariffs under Part 1: restriction—

“(1) No power of the Treasury or of the Secretary of State to impose tariffs under or by virtue of the provisions specified in subsection (2) may be exercised in respect of goods originating from a country that is a Member State of the European Union.

(2) Those provisions are—

(a) section 8 (customs tariff),

(b) section 11 (quotas),

(c) section 13 (dumping of goods, etc),

(d) section 14 (agricultural goods), and

(e) section 15 (international disputes).”

This new clause prevents tariffs being imposed on goods originating from EU Member States.

New clause 4— Import tariffs under Part 1: pegging with EU tariffs—

“(1) In exercising the powers to impose or vary tariffs under or by virtue of the provisions of sections 8 to 15, it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to secure that, so far as practicable, the level of those tariffs is the same as that imposed in respect of comparable goods imported into the European Union from third countries.

(2) For the purposes of this section—

(a) the level of tariffs imposed in respect of comparable goods imported into the European Union shall be determined with reference to EU customs duties (within the meaning of that term given by paragraph 1 of Schedule 7), and

(b) “third countries” means any country other than the United Kingdom that is not a member of the EU Customs Union.”

This new clause requires tariffs set by the UK to be pegged to EU tariffs.

New clause 5—Regulatory alignment: VAT and excise—

“(1) In exercising the powers under Parts 3 and 4 of this Act, it shall be the duty of the Treasury to secure that, so far as practicable, there is regulatory alignment in respect of VAT and excise with the European Union.

(2) For the purposes of this section, “regulatory alignment” includes, for example—

(a) the administration of VAT and excise duties on the basis of the same regulatory approach as that required in respect of EU Member States,

(b) the setting of import VAT with regard to comparable taxation within the European Union, and

(c) the establishment of a duty deferment scheme comparable to that in operation while the United Kingdom was a member of the European Union.”

This new clause requires regulatory alignment with regard to VAT and excise between new UK arrangements and those within the EU or as a member of the EU.

New clause 6—Pre-commencement impact assessment of leaving the EU Customs Union—

“No Minister of the Crown may appoint a day for the commencement of any provision of this Act until a Minister of the Crown has laid before the House of Commons an impact assessment of—

(a) disapplying the EU’s Common External Tariff, and

(b) any changes to duties, quotas or associated customs processes made as a consequence of the UK leaving the European Union.”

This new clause would require the Government to produce an impact assessment of any changes to existing cross-border taxation arrangements before any such changes are made.

New clause 7—Review of the impact of this Act on the UK economy—

“(1) Within six months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must publish and lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the impact of the proposed customs regime to be implemented under this Act on—

(a) the economy of the United Kingdom,

(b) the different parts of the United Kingdom and different regions of England, and

(c) individual economic sectors.

(2) The assessment in subsection (1) must so far as practicable analyse the expected difference in outcomes between the proposed customs regime and continued participation in the EU Customs Union.

(3) In this section—

“parts of the United Kingdom” means—

(a) England,

(b) Scotland,

(c) Wales, and

(d) Northern Ireland;

“regions of England” has the same meaning as that used by the Office for National Statistics.”

This new clause requires the Treasury to publish an assessment on the economic impact of proposed customs regime and compare it to the economic impact of remaining in the EU Customs Union.

New clause 8—Review of the impact of this Act on the Northern Ireland—Ireland border—

“(1) Within six months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must publish and lay before each House of Parliament an assessment of the impact of the proposed customs regime to be implemented under this Act on Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

(2) The assessment in subsection (1) must so far as practicable analyse the expected difference in outcomes between the proposed customs regime and continued participation in the EU Customs Union.

(3) The assessment must consider—

(a) the impact of the proposed customs regime on businesses that operate in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,

(b) what, if any, physical infrastructure will be required at the border crossings between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to enforce the proposed customs regime,

(c) if, and how, the proposed customs regime preserves the effects of the Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998, and

(d) what, if any, rules of the EU Customs Union are included in the proposed customs regime for the purposes of—

(i) promoting cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,

(ii) supporting the economy of the entire island of Ireland, and

(iii) preserving the effects of the Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998.”

This new clause requires the Treasury to assess the impact of the proposed customs regime on Northern Ireland and Ireland, especially on the all-island economy, border crossings, the Good Friday Agreement and future alignment with the EU Customs Union.

New clause 9—Parliamentary scrutiny of public notices—

“(1) Any provision made by a public notice under this Act is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of the House of Commons.

(2) Section 5 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 applies to this section as if all references in that Act to a statutory instrument subject to annulment were a reference to a public notice.”

This new clause allows the House of Commons to annul provisions made by public notice under this Act.

New clause 10—Review of free zones—

“(1) The Treasury shall, within three months of the passing of this Act, carry out a review of the exercise and prospective exercise of the relevant powers relating to free zones.

(2) The review under this section shall in particular consider—

(a) the economic effects of previous designations under the relevant powers relating to free zones,

(b) the operation of free zones in other Member States of the European Union,

(c) the effects of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on the case for the designation of free zones (including the prospective effects of the storage procedure under Part 2 of Schedule 2 in relation to free zones), and

(d) the prospective designation of Teesport as a free zone.

(3) The Chancellor of the Exchequer shall lay a report of the review under this section before the House of Commons as soon as practicable after its completion.

(4) In this section “the relevant powers relating to free zones” means—

(a) the power of the Treasury to make an order designating any area in the United Kingdom as a special area for customs purposes under section 100A of CEMA 1979 (designation of free zones), and

(b) the powers of HMRC Commissioners under section 17 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 (free zone regulations).”

This new clause requires a review to be undertaken of the past and possible future exercise of powers to designate free zones and related powers, including comparative information and an analysis of the impact on the case of withdrawal from the EU.

New clause 11—Preparedness for a customs union with the European Union—

“(1) It shall be one of the negotiating objectives of Her Majesty’s Government in negotiations on the matters specified in subsection (2) to create an agreement which allows the United Kingdom to secure tariff free access to the European Union including the potential to participate in a customs union with the European Union, following exit from the European Union.

(2) Those matters are—

(a) the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and

(b) a permanent agreement with the European Union for a period subsequent to the transitional period after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to lay a report before the House of Commons on the outcome of negotiations on each of the matters specified in subsection (2) in relation to the objective in subsection (1).

(4) A report under this section in relation to the matter specified in subsection (1)(a) shall include an account of—

(a) the extent to which the negotiating objective has been met,

(b) proposals for the commencement of provisions of Parts 1 and 2, and

(c) proposals for the modification of this Act in the exercise of powers under sections 31 or 54, or otherwise, in consequence of an agreement with the European Union.

(5) The provisions specified in section 55(1) come into force on the day after the day on which a report under subsection (4) is laid before the House of Commons.

(6) A report under this section in relation to the matter specified in subsection (1)(b) shall include an account of—

(a) the extent to which the negotiating objective has been met, and

(b) proposals for the modification of this Act in the exercise of powers under sections 31 or 54, or otherwise, in consequence of an agreement with the European Union.”

This new clause establishes a negotiating objective to secure an agreement which allows the United Kingdom to have tariff free access to the European Union including the potential to participate in a customs union with the European Union, following exit from the European Union, and makes associated provision about reporting and implementation and modification of the Bill as enacted.

New clause 12—Implementation of a customs union with the EU as a negotiating objective—

“(1) It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government in negotiations on the matters specified in subsection (2) to secure the United Kingdom’s participation in a customs union with the European Union.

(2) Those matters are—

(a) the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and

(b) a permanent agreement with the European Union for a period subsequent to the transitional period after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to lay a report before the House of Commons in accordance with either subsection (4) or subsection (5).

(4) A report under this subsection shall be to the effect that the negotiating objective specified in subsection (1) has been achieved.

(5) A report under this subsection shall be to the effect that the negotiating objective specified in subsection (1) has not been achieved.

(6) If a report is laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (4), Parts 1 and 2 of this Act shall cease to have effect on the day after that day.

(7) If a report is laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (5), the provisions specified in section 55(1) come into force on the day after that day.

(8) No regulations may be made under section 55(2) for the purpose of appointing a day for the coming into force of paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 (replacement of EU customs duties) unless a report has been laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (5).”

This new clause establishes a negotiating objective to secure the United Kingdom’s participation in a customs union with the European Union, provides for Parts 1 and 2 of the Act to expire if that objective is met and makes the ending of the retention of EU customs duties conditional upon a report stating that the objective has not been met.

New clause 13—Enhanced parliamentary procedure—

“(1) No regulations to which this section applies may be made except in accordance with the steps set out in this section.

(2) This section applies to—

(a) the first regulations to be made under—

(i) section 8 (the customs tariff);

(ii) section 9 (preferential rates under arrangements) in respect of any country or territory outside the United Kingdom; and

(iii) section 39 (charge to export duty);

(b) any other regulations to be made under section 8 the effect of which is an increase in the amount of import duty payable under the customs tariff in a standard case (within the meaning of that section);

(c) any other regulations under section 9 the effect of which is an increase in the amount of import duty applicable to any goods set by any regulations to which paragraph (a)(ii) applies;

(d) any other regulations under section 39 the effect of which is an increase in the amount of export duty payable;

(e) any regulations under—

(i) section 10(1) (preferential rates given unilaterally);

(ii) section 11(1) (quotes);

(iii) section 13(5) (dumping of goods, foreign subsidies and increases in imports);

(iv) section 14(1) (increases in imports or changes in price of agricultural goods); and

(v) section 15(1) (international disputes).

(3) The first step is that a Minister of the Crown must lay before the House of Commons—

(a) a draft of the regulations that it is proposed be made;

(b) in respect of regulations to be made under section 9 to which this section applies, a statement of the terms of the arrangements made with the government of the country or territory outside the United Kingdom;

(c) in respect of regulations to be made under section 10(1), a statement on the matters specified in subsection (4);

(d) in respect of regulations to be made under section 11(1), a statement on the matters specified in subsection (5);

(e) in respect of regulations to be made under section 14(1), a statement of the reasons for proposing to make the regulations;

(f) in respect of draft regulations to be under section 15(1)—

(i) a statement of the dispute or other issue that has arisen; and

(ii) an account of the reasons why the Secretary of State considers that the condition in section 15(1)(b) has been met.

(4) The matters referred to in subsection (3)(c) are—

(a) the proposed application and non-application of the scheme to each country listed in Parts 2 and 3 of Schedule 3;

(b) any proposed conditions for the application of the lower rates or nil rate; and

(c) any proposed provisions about the variation, suspension and withdrawal of the application of the lower rates or nil rate.

(5) The matters referred to in subsection (3)(d) are—

(a) in respect of any case where the condition in section 11(2)(a) is met, a statement of the terms of the arrangements made with the government of the country or territory outside the United Kingdom; and

(b) in respect of any case where the condition in section 11(2)(b) is met, a statement of the reasons why the Treasury consider it is appropriate for the goods concerned to be subject to a quota.

(6) The second step is that a Minister of the Crown must make a motion for a resolution in the House of Commons setting out, in respect of proposed regulations of which a draft has been laid in accordance with subsection (3)—

(a) in respect of draft regulations to be made under section 8 to which this section applies—

(i) the rate of import duty applicable to goods falling within a code given in regulations previously made under section 8 or in the draft of the regulations laid in accordance with subsection (3);

(ii) anything of a kind mentioned in section 8(3)(a) or (b) by reference to which the amount of any import duty applicable to any goods is proposed to be determined; and

(iii) the meaning of any relevant expression used in the motion.

(b) in respect of draft regulations to be made under section 9 to which this section applies, the rate of import duty applicable to goods, or any description of goods, originating from the country or territory.

(c) in respect of draft regulations to be made under section 11(1)—

(i) the amount of import duty proposed to be applicable to any goods that are or are proposed to be subject to a quota; and

(ii) the factors by reference to which a quota is to be determined.

(d) in respect of draft regulations to be made under section 10(1)—

(i) each country to which the proposed regulations apply;

(ii) the proposed conditions for the application of the lower rates or nil rate, and

(iii) the proposed provisions about the variation, suspension and withdrawal of the application of the lower rates or nil rate.

(e) in respect of draft regulations to be under section 13(5), the amount of import duty proposed to be applicable to any goods that are or are proposed to be subject to a quota.

(f) in respect of draft regulations to be made under section 14(1)—

(i) the proposed additional amount of import duty;

(ii) the proposed period for the purposes of section 14(1)(a); and

(iii) the proposed trigger price for the purposes of section 14(1)(b).

(g) in respect of draft regulations to be made under section 15(1), the proposed variation of import duty.

(h) in respect of draft regulations to be made under section 39 to which this section applies—

(i) the rate of export duty applicable to goods specified in the resolution;

(ii) any proposed export tariff (within the meaning given in section 39(3)(a)); and

(iii) any measure of quantity or size by reference to which it is proposed that the duty be charged.

(7) The third step is that the House of Commons passes a resolution arising from the motion made in the form specified in subsection (6) (whether in the form of that motion or as amended).

(8) The fourth step is that the regulations that may then be made must, in respect of any matters specified in the paragraph of subsection (6) that relate to the section under which the draft regulations are to be made, give effect to the terms of the resolution referred to in subsection (7).”

This new clause applies an enhanced parliamentary procedure to several of the provisions in the Bill, requiring that the House of Commons pass an amendable resolution authorising (i) the rate of import duty on particular goods; (ii) the key provisions of regulations that set quotas; (ii) the key provisions of regulations that lower import duties for eligible developing countries; (iii) the quota provisions of regulations to give effect to recommendations of the TRA; (iv) regulations setting additional import duty on agricultural goods; (v) regulations varying import duty as a result of an international dispute, and (vi) the rate of export duty on particular goods.

New clause 14—Additional regulations requiring the affirmative procedure—

“(1) No regulations to which this section applies may be made unless a draft has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.

(2) This section applies to regulations under—

(a) section 10(4)(a) (meaning of “arms and ammunition”);

(b) section 12 (tariff suspension);

(c) section 19 (reliefs);

(d) section 22 (authorized economic operators);

(e) section 30 (general provision for the purposes of import duty);

(f) section 42 (EU law relating to VAT);

(g) paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 3 (power to add or remove countries from lists in that Schedule);

(h) paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 4 (definitions and determinations in relation to goods being “dumped”);

(i) paragraph 5 of Schedule 4 (determination of certain matters relating to “injury” to a UK industry);

(j) paragraph 26(1) of Schedule 4 (provision for suspension of anti-dumping or anti-subsidy remedies);

(k) paragraph (1)(2)(c) of Schedule 5 (defining a “significant” increase);

(l) paragraph 2 of Schedule 5 (definitions relating to “serious injury” to a UK industry);

(m) paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 5 (provision for suspension of safeguarding remedies) and regulations making provision on the matters in section 11(3)(c).”

This new clause applies the affirmative resolution procedure to a number of powers in the Bill.

New clause 16—Additional regulations requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament

“(1) No regulations to which this section applies may be made unless a draft has been given consent by the Scottish Parliament.

(2) This section applies to regulations under—

(a) section 10(4)(a) (meaning of “arms and ammunition”);

(b) section 12 (tariff suspension);

(c) section 19 (reliefs);

(d) section 22 (authorized economic operators);

(e) section 30 (general provision for the purposes of import duty);

(f) section 42 (EU law relating to VAT);

(g) paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 3 (power to add or remove countries from lists in that Schedule);

(h) paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 4 (definitions and determinations in relation to goods being “dumped”);

(i) paragraph 5 of Schedule 4 (determination of certain matters relating to “injury” to a UK industry);

(j) paragraph 26(1) of Schedule 4 (provision for suspension of anti-dumping or anti-subsidy remedies);

(k) paragraph 1(2)(c) of Schedule 5 (defining a “significant” increase);

(l) paragraph 2 of Schedule 5 (definitions relating to “serious injury” to a UK industry);

(m) paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 5 (provision for suspension of safeguarding remedies) and regulations making provision on the matters in section 11(3)(c).

(n) section 14 (Increases in imports or changes in price of agricultural goods).”

This new clause would require Scottish Parliament consent to implement a number of powers in the Bill.

New clause 18—Tariffs not to differ from the European Union until House of Commons authority given—

“(1) Unless and until the House of Commons has passed a resolution in the terms specified in subsection (3), subsection (2) shall apply.

(2) Unless and until the resolution referred to in subsection (1) is passed—

(a) in exercising the powers to impose or vary tariffs under or by virtue of the provisions of sections 8 to 15, it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to secure that, so far as practicable, the level of those tariffs is the same as that imposed in respect of comparable goods imported into the European Union from third countries, and

(b) no power of the Treasury or of the Secretary of State to impose tariffs under or by virtue of the provisions specified in subsection (5) may be exercised in respect of goods originating from a country that is a Member State of the European Union.

(3) The form of the resolution referred to in subsection (1) is “That this House authorises Her Majesty’s Government to set tariffs that differ from those of the European Union”.

(4) After the House of Commons has passed a resolution in the terms specified in subsection (3), subsection (2) shall no longer apply.

(5) The provisions referred to in subsection (2)(b) are—

(a) section 8 (customs tariff),

(b) section 11 (quotas),

(c) section 13 (dumping of goods, etc),

(d) section 14 (agricultural goods), and

(e) section 15 (international disputes).

(6) For the purposes of this section—

(a) the level of tariffs imposed in respect of comparable goods imported into the European Union shall be determined with reference to EU customs duties (within the meaning of that term given by paragraph 1 of Schedule 7), and

(b) “third countries” means any country other than the United Kingdom that is not a member of the EU Customs Union.”

This new clause would require a meaningful vote before the UK Government could introduce tariffs different to those of the EU.

New clause 20—Application to Scotland of arrangements for Northern Ireland—

“(1) No power of the Treasury or of the Secretary of State exercisable under the provisions specified in subsection (2) shall make customs arrangements in respect to goods that originated from a country that is a Member State of the European Union entering Northern Ireland unless one or both of the conditions in subsection (3) is met.

(2) Those provisions are—

(a) section 8 (customs tariff),

(b) section 11 (quotas),

(c) section 13 (dumping of goods, etc),

(d) section 14 (agricultural goods), and

(e) section 15 (international disputes).

(3) The conditions are that—

(a) the customs arrangements that apply to Northern Ireland also apply to Scotland, or

(b) the Scottish Ministers consent to the arrangements being made.”

This new clause prevents Northern Ireland being given a special status not available to Scotland, subject to approval by Scottish Ministers.

New clause 22—Review of the impact of this Act on the Northern Ireland—Ireland border (No. 2)—

“(1) Within six months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must publish and lay before each House of Parliament an assessment of the impact on—

(a) Northern Ireland, and

(b) the Republic of Ireland, of the proposed customs regime to be implemented under this Act.

(2) The assessment in subsection (1) must so far as practicable analyse the expected difference in outcomes between the proposed customs regime and continued participation in the EU Customs Union.

(3) The assessment must consider—

(a) the impact of the proposed customs regime on businesses that operate in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,

(b) what, if any, physical infrastructure will be required at the border crossings between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to enforce the proposed customs regime,

(c) if, and how, the proposed customs regime preserves the effects of the Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998, and

(d) what, if any, rules of the EU Customs Union are included in the proposed customs regime for the purposes of—

(i) promoting cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,

(ii) supporting the economy of the entire island of Ireland, and

(iii) preserving the effects of the Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998.”

This new clause requires the Treasury to assess the impact of the proposed customs regime on Northern Ireland and Ireland, especially on the all-island economy, border crossings, the Good Friday Agreement and future alignment with the EU Customs Union.

New clause 23—Additional regulations requiring the consent of the Scottish Ministers—

“(1) No regulations to which this section applies may be made unless a draft has been given consent by the Scottish Ministers.

(2) This section applies to regulations under—

(a) section 10(4)(a) (meaning of “arms and ammunition”);

(b) section 12 (tariff suspension);

(c) section 19 (reliefs);

(d) section 22 (authorized economic operators);

(e) section 30 (general provision for the purposes of import duty);

(f) section 42 (EU law relating to VAT);

(g) paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 3 (power to add or remove countries from lists in that Schedule);

(h) paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 4 (definitions and determinations in relation to goods being “dumped”);

(i) paragraph 5 of Schedule 4 (determination of certain matters relating to “injury” to a UK industry);

(j) paragraph 26(1) of Schedule 4 (provision for suspension of anti-dumping or anti-subsidy remedies);

(k) paragraph 1(2)(c) of Schedule 5 (defining a “significant” increase);

(l) paragraph 2 of Schedule 5 (definitions relating to “serious injury” to a UK industry);

(m) paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 5 (provision for suspension of safeguarding remedies) and regulations making provision on the matters in section 11(3)(c);

(n) section 14 (increases in imports or changes in price of agricultural goods).”

This new clause would require Scottish Government approval to implement a number of powers in the Bill.

New clause 25—Review of the impact of this Act on the Scottish economy—

“(1) Within six months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must publish and lay before each House of Parliament an assessment of the impact of the proposed customs regime to be implemented under this Act on the Scottish economy.

(2) The assessment in subsection (1) must so far as practicable analyse the expected difference in outcomes between the proposed customs regime and continued participation in the EU Customs Union.

(3) The assessment must consider—

(a) the impact of the proposed customs regime on businesses that operate in Scotland,

(b) the impact on public finances in Scotland.”

This new clause requires the Treasury to assess the impact of the proposed customs regime on Scotland.

New clause 26—Import tariffs under Part 1: making tariffs on the EU less or equal to those on third countries—

“(1) In exercising the powers to impose or vary rates of import duty under or by virtue of the provisions of sections 8 to 15, it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to secure that, so far as practicable, the level of those rates of import duty in respect of goods imported from the European Union is no greater than those imposed on third countries.

(2) For the purposes of this section “third countries” means any country other than the United Kingdom that is not a member of the EU Customs Union.”

This new clause requires tariffs set by the UK on EU goods to be no greater than those imposed on any third countries.

New clause 27—Import tariffs under Part 1: preventing tariffs on goods from third countries being lower than those on comparable goods from the European Union—

“(1) In exercising the powers to impose or vary rates of import duty under or by virtue of the provisions of sections 8 to 15, it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to secure that, so far as practicable, rates of import duty are applied in respect of goods imported from third countries are not set at a lower rate than the rate of import duty set by the European Union in respect of the same goods and countries.

(2) This section does not apply to—

(a) eligible developing countries, or

(b) least developed countries.

(3) For the purposes of this section—

(a) “third countries” means any country other than the United Kingdom that is not a member of the EU Customs Union;

(b) “eligible developing countries” and “least developed countries” means those countries defined as such in Schedule 3.”

This new clause would prevent tariffs on goods from third countries being lower than those on comparable goods from the European Union.

New clause 28—Import tariffs under Part 1: preventing tariffs on third countries which may cause a dispute with the EU—

“(1) In exercising the powers to impose or vary rates of import duty under or by virtue of the provisions of sections 8 to 15, it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to secure that, so far as practicable, rates of import duty are not applied in respect of goods imported from third countries which may jeopardise customs arrangements with the European Union or cause any dispute with the European Union.

(2) For the purposes of this section ‘third countries’ means any country other than the United Kingdom that is not a member of the EU Customs Union.”

This new clause would prevent a UK Government from entering into customs arrangements with third countries which would jeopardise customs arrangements with the European Union or cause any dispute with the European Union.

New clause 29—Import tariffs under Part 1: pegging with EU tariffs—

“(1) In exercising the powers to impose or vary rates of import duty under or by virtue of the provisions of sections 8 to 15, it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to secure that, so far as practicable, rates of import duty are the same as those imposed in respect of comparable goods imported into the European Union from third countries.

(2) For the purposes of this section—

(a) the rates of import duty imposed in respect of comparable goods imported into the European Union shall be determined with reference to EU customs duties (within the meaning of that term given by paragraph 1 of Schedule 7), and

(b) ‘third countries’ means any country other than the United Kingdom that is not a member of the EU Customs Union.”

This new clause requires tariffs set by the UK to be pegged to EU tariffs.

New clause 30—Super-affirmative resolution procedure—

“(1) For the purposes of this Act, the ‘super-affirmative resolution procedure’ in relation to the making of regulations to which this section applies is as follows.

(2) If a Minister considers it necessary to proceed with the making of regulations to which this section applies, the Minister shall lay before the House of Commons—

(a) draft regulations,

(b) an explanatory document under subsection (3), and

(c) a declaration under subsection (4).

(3) The explanatory document must—

(a) introduce and explain any amendments made to retained EU law by each proposed regulation, and

(b) set out the reason why each such amendment is necessary (or, in the case where the Minister is unable to make a statement of necessity under subsection (4)(a), the reason why each such amendment is nevertheless considered appropriate).

(4) The declaration under subsection (2)(c) must either—

(a) state that, in the Minister’s view, the provisions of the draft regulations do not exceed what is necessary to prevent, remedy or mitigate any deficiency in retained EU law arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU (a “statement of necessity”), or

(b) include a statement to the effect that although the Minister is unable to make a statement of necessity the Government nevertheless proposes to exercise the power to make the regulations in the form of the draft.

(5) Subject as follows, if after the expiry of the 21-day period a committee of the House of Commons appointed to consider draft regulations under this section has not reported to the House of Commons a resolution in respect of the draft regulations laid under section 32(2A) or 42(6), the Minister may proceed to make a statutory instrument in the form of the draft regulations.

(6) A statutory instrument containing regulations under subsection (5) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of the House of Commons.

(7) The procedure in subsection (8) to (15) shall apply to the proposal for the draft regulations instead of the procedure in subsection (5) if—

(a) the House of Commons so resolves within the 21-day period,

(b) the committee appointed to consider draft regulations under this section so recommends within the 21-day period and the House of Commons does not by resolution reject the recommendation within that period, or

(c) the draft regulations contain provision to—

(i) establish a public authority in the United Kingdom,

(ii) provide for any function of an EU entity or public authority in a member State to be exercisable instead by a public authority in the United Kingdom established by regulations under sections 42, 43 or schedule 8,

(iii) provides for any function of an EU entity or public authority in a member State of making an instrument of a legislative character to be exercisable instead by a public authority in the United Kingdom,

(iv) imposes, or otherwise relates to, a fee in respect of a function exercisable by a public authority in the United Kingdom,

(v) creates, or widens the scope of, a criminal offence, or

(vi) creates or amends a power to legislate.

(8) The Minister must have regard to—

(a) any representations,

(b) any resolution of the House of Commons, and

(c) any recommendations of a committee of the House of Commons charged with reporting on the draft regulations, made during the 60-day period with regard to the draft regulations.

(9) If, after the expiry of the 60-day period, the Minister wishes to make regulations in the terms of the draft, the Minister must lay before the House of Commons a statement—

(a) stating whether any representations were made under subsection (8)(a), and

(b) if any representations were so made, giving details of them.

(10) The Minister may after the laying of such a statement make regulations in the terms of the draft if it is approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.

(11) However, a committee of the House of Commons charged with reporting on the draft regulations may, at any time after the laying of a statement under subsection (9) and before the draft regulations are approved by that House under subsection (10), recommend under this subsection that no further proceedings be taken in relation to the draft regulations.

(12) Where a recommendation is made by a committee of the House of Commons under subsection (11) in relation to draft regulations, no proceedings may be taken in relation to the draft regulations in the House of Commons under subsection (10) unless the recommendation is, in the same Session, rejected by resolution of the House of Commons.

(13) If, after the expiry of the 60-day period, the Minister wishes to make regulations consisting of a version of the draft regulations with material changes, the Minister must lay before Parliament—

(a) revised draft regulations, and

(b) a statement giving details of—

(i) any representations made under subsection (8)(a); and

(ii) the revisions proposed.

(14) The Minister may after laying revised draft regulations and a statement under subsection (9) make regulations in the terms of the revised draft if it is approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.

(15) However, a committee of the House of Commons charged with reporting on the revised draft regulations may, at any time after the revised draft regulations are laid under subsection (12) and before it is approved by the House of Commons under subsection (13), recommend under this subsection that no further proceedings be taken in relation to the revised draft regulations.

(16) Where a recommendation is made by a committee of the House of Commons under subsection (14) in relation to revised draft regulations, no proceedings may be taken in relation to the revised draft regulations in the House of Commons under subsection (13) unless the recommendation is, in the same Session, rejected by resolution of the House of Commons.

(17) In this section, references to the ‘21-day’ and ‘60-day’ periods in relation to any draft regulations are to the periods of 21 and 60 days beginning with the day on which the draft regulations were laid before Parliament.”

This new clause applies an amended version of the super-affirmative resolution procedure to certain powers to make regulations under Schedules 4 and 5, and Clause 42.

New clause 31—VAT deferral scheme—

“(1) This section applies if it appears to the Secretary of State that the United Kingdom will cease to be a member of the European Union taxation and customs union.

(2) The Secretary of State must by regulations introduce a domestic deferral scheme for UK importers.

(3) In designing a scheme under subsection (2), the Secretary of State must consult with whichever relevant stakeholders deemed by the Secretary of State to be appropriate.

(4) Regulations under subsection (2) may be made only if a draft of the regulations has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, the House of Commons.”

This new clause ensures that in the event that the UK is no longer a member of the EU VAT area, the Secretary of State must by draft affirmative regulation introduce a VAT deferral scheme.

New clause 32—Rules of origin—

“(1) Where the exigencies of trade so require, a document proving origin may be issued in the UK in accordance with the rules of origin in force in the country or territory of destination or any other method identifying the country where the goods were wholly obtained or underwent their last substantial transformation. The Secretary of State may by regulations specify—

(a) the bodies that certificate origin for the purposes of a certificate under subsection (1),

(b) the specifications of the certificate, and

(c) any other relevant factor.”

This new clause would allow a document proving origin to be issued in the UK and would allow the Secretary of State to make regulations specifying the bodies that can issue a certificate and the specifications of a certificate as well as other relevant factors.

New clause 33—Additional regulations requiring the affirmative procedure (No. 2)—

“(1) No regulations to which this section applies may be made unless a draft has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.

(2) This section applies to regulations under—

(a) section 8(1) (the customs tariff);

(b) section 14(1) (agricultural goods);

(c) section 19(1) (reliefs);

(d) section 22(1) (authorised economic operators);

(e) section 30 (general provision for the purposes of import duty);

(f) section 39(1) (export duties);

(g) section 42(5) (exclusion from principal VAT directive);

(h) section 47(2) (exclusion from or modification of EU law relating to excise duty).”

This new clause applies the affirmative resolution procedure to a number of powers in the Bill.

New clause 34—Exclusion from tariffs for land border—

“Upon the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, the United Kingdom shall not charge any customs duty or impose any quotas on goods entering the United Kingdom across the land border between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.”

New clause 35—Exclusion from tariffs for goods imported from the Republic of Ireland—

“Part 1 of this Act shall not apply to the import of any good into the United Kingdom from the Republic of Ireland.”

New clause 36—Prohibition on collection of certain taxes or duties on behalf of territory without reciprocity—

“(1) Subject to subsection (2), it shall be unlawful for HMRC to account for any duty of customs or VAT or excise duty collected by HMRC to the Government of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply if the Treasury declare by Order that arrangements have been entered into by Her Majesty’s Government and that government under which that government will account to HMRC for those duties and taxes collected in that country on a reciprocal basis.”

New clause 37—Single United Kingdom customs territory—

“(1) It shall be unlawful for Her Majesty‘s Government to enter into arrangements under which Northern Ireland forms part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain.

(2) For the purposes of this section “customs territory” shall have the same meaning as in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1947, as amended.”

Amendment 26, in clause 2, page 2, line 3, at end insert

“or goods coming from the EEA”.

This amendment seeks to remove the Bill’s provisions to grant the UK Government the ability to impose customs on EEA goods.

Amendment 68, in clause 2, page 2, line 3, at end insert

“or goods entering the United Kingdom across the land border between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom”.

Amendment 69, in clause 2, page 2, line 3, at end insert

“or goods imported into the United Kingdom from the Republic of Ireland.”

Government amendment 74.

Amendment 71, in clause 8, page 6, line 6, at end insert—

“(e) the interests of producers in the United Kingdom,

(f) the desirability of maintaining United Kingdom standards of animal welfare, food safety and environmental protection.”

This amendment would require the Treasury, when considering the rate of import duty that ought to apply to any goods, to have regard to the interests of UK producers (e.g. farmers) and to the desirability of ensuring that UK standards of animal welfare, food safety and environmental protection are not undermined by imports produced to lower standards.

Amendment 119, in clause 8, page 6, line 6, at end insert—

“(e) the impacts on sustainable development.”

This amendment requires the Treasury to have regard to Government obligations to sustainable development in considering the rate of import duty.

Government amendment 84.

Amendment 21, in clause 13, page 9, line 18, at end insert—

“(4A) Subsection (4B) applies where the TRA or the Secretary of State is considering whether the application of a remedy, or the acceptance of a recommendation to do so—

(a) is in the public interest, or

(b) meets either of the economic interest tests described in paragraph 25 of Schedule 4 or paragraph 21 of Schedule 5.

(4B) In making a consideration to which this subsection applies, notwithstanding the provisions of Schedules 4 and 5, the TRA or the Secretary of State must give special consideration to the need to eliminate the trade distorting effect of injurious dumping and to restore effective competition, and must presume the application of a remedy or the acceptance of a recommendation to do so to be in the public interest and to have met the economic interest test unless this special consideration is significantly outweighed.”

This amendment ensures that there is a presumption that if dumping is found, a remedial action will be taken.

Amendment 54, in clause 15, page 10, line 18, at end insert—

“(3) The Secretary of State must lay before the House of Commons an annual report on the exercise of the powers under this section including information on—

(a) the relevant international law authorising the exercise of the powers in each case, and

(b) the matters in dispute or issues arising in each case.”

This amendment requires the Government to report on the circumstances of, and international law basis for, each variation of tariffs as a result of a trade dispute.

Amendment 55, in clause 22, page 14, line 36, at end insert—

“(4) Within three months of the passing of this Act, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must lay before the House of Commons a report on the proposed exercise of the power of the HMRC Commissioners to make regulations under subsection (1), including in particular—

(a) the proposed criteria to be applied in determining whether or not any person should be an authorised economic operator,

(b) an assessment of the structure of the authorised economic operator system in Germany, Austria and such other countries as the Chancellor of the Exchequer considers relevant,

(c) the proposed differences between the structure that is proposed to be established by the first exercise of the power to make regulations under subsection (1) and each of those structures described in accordance with paragraph (b),

(d) the level of proposed resources to be allocated by the HMRC Commissioners for the authorisation of new authorised economic operators, and

(e) the target timetable for the authorisation of—

(i) new authorised economic operators in each class, and

(ii) authorised economic operator certification renewals in each class.”

This amendment requires the Government to report on the proposed operation of the powers of the HMRC under Clause 22, including comparative information.

Amendment 33, in clause 25, page 17, line 2, leave out “Data Protection Act 1998” and insert “data protection legislation”.

This amendment and Amendment 34 seeks to provide that the powers of disclosure cannot be exercised in breach of the updated data protection framework to be enshrined in the Data Protection Act 2018.

Amendment 34, in clause 25, page 17, line 4, at end insert—

“(8) In this section, “the data protection legislation” has the same meaning as in the Data Protection Act 2018.”

Amendment 70, page 18, line 11, leave out clause 31.

Amendment 72, in clause 31, page 18, line 34, at end insert—

“(4A) In the case of a customs union between the United Kingdom and the European Union, Her Majesty may not make a declaration by Order In Council under subsection (4) unless the arrangements have been approved by an Act of Parliament.”

This amendment provides that the delegated powers under this clause may not be exercised until a proposed customs union with the European Union has been approved by a separate Act of Parliament.

Amendment 8, page 18, line 38, at beginning insert “subject to subsection (8)”.

This amendment paves the way for Amendment 9.

Amendment 9, page 19, line 10, at end insert—

“(8) When the power under subsection (4) has been exercised in respect of a customs union between the United Kingdom and the European Union, the powers in subsections (4) and (5) may not be exercised so as to—

(a) provide that that customs union shall cease to have effect, or

(b) modify or disapply provision made by or under any other Act in a way that provides that that customs union shall cease to have effect.”

This amendment would prevent the delegated powers under Clause 31 being used to end a customs union once the transition period has finished. It provides that the delegated powers under Clause 31, once exercised in relation to a customs union with the EU, cannot be exercised to provide for departure from such a union.

Amendment 56, in clause 32, page 19, line 14, leave out subsections (2) to (4).

This amendment is consequential on NC33.

Government amendment 75.

Amendment 35, in clause 32, page 19, line 18, at end insert—

“(c) regulations under paragraph 4(2), 9(3) or 14(4) of Schedule 4.”

This amendment provides for regulations made under certain provisions of Schedule 4 (regarding dumping of goods or foreign subsidies causing injury to UK industry) to be subject to the made affirmative procedure rather than the negative procedure.

Amendment 36, page 19, line 18, at end insert—

“(c) regulations under paragraph 1(2), 3(2), 4(2) or 5 of Schedule 5.”

This amendment provides for regulations made under certain provisions of Schedule 5 (regarding an increase in imports causing serious injury to UK producers) to be subject to the made affirmative procedure rather than the negative procedure.

Government amendment 76.

Amendment 37, page 19, line 21, at end insert—

“(2A) Section (Super-affirmative resolution procedure) applies to regulations under paragraph 1(3), 3(5), 5(2), or 6(2) of Schedule 4.”

This amendment provides for regulations made under certain provisions of Schedule 4 (regarding dumping of goods or foreign subsidies causing injury to UK industry) to be subject to the superaffirmative resolution procedure, as defined in NC12.

Amendment 38, page 19, line 21, at end insert—

“(2A) Section (Super-affirmative resolution procedure) applies to regulations under paragraph 2(2) or 2(3) of Schedule 5.”

This amendment provides for regulations made under certain provisions of Schedule 5 (regarding an increase in imports causing serious injury to UK producers) to be subject to the superaffirmative resolution procedure, as defined in NC12.

Amendment 57, page 19, line 32, leave out “subsection (2)” and insert

“section (Additional regulations requiring the affirmative procedure (Amendment 2))”.

This amendment is consequential on NC33.

Amendment 39, page 19, line 32, after “(2)” insert “or (2A)”.

This amendment is consequential to Amendment 38.

Amendment 40, page 27, line 5, after second “to”, insert “number”.

This amendment clarifies that goods may be defined for the purposes of the export tariff simply by reference to their number.

Government amendment 77.

Amendment 41, in clause 39, page 27, line 12, at end insert—

“(aa) the interests of manufacturers in the United Kingdom,”.

This amendment requires the Treasury to have regard to the interests of manufacturers in considering the rate of export duty.

Amendment 42, page 27, line 17, at end insert “and

(e) the public interest.”

Amendment 120, page 27, line 17, at end insert “and

(e) the impacts on sustainable development.”

This amendment requires the Treasury to have regard to Government obligations towards sustainable development in considering the rate of export duty.

Amendment 58, in clause 40, page 27, line 35, leave out subsections (2) to (4).

This amendment is consequential on NC33.

Amendment 59, page 28, line 7, leave out “subsection (2)” and insert

“section (Additional regulations requiring the affirmative procedure (Amendment 2))”.

This amendment is consequential on NC33.

Amendment 43, in clause 42, page 29, line 23, leave out subsection (1).

This amendment would be to remove from the Bill the provision that retained EU law on VAT should not have effect, despite forming part of UK law as a result of Clause 3 of the European.

Amendment 44, page 29, line 44, leave out from “regulation” to end of line 45.

The effect of this amendment would be to ensure that the UK Government does not exclude aspects of the EU’s principal VAT Directive that remain relevant by delegated legislation.

Government amendment 78.

Amendment 45, page 30, line 1, leave out subsection (6) and insert—

“(6) Section (Super-affirmative resolution procedure) applies to regulations made under this section.”

This amendment applies the super-affirmative resolution procedure, described in NC12, to regulations made under this section.

Amendment 60, page 30, line 1, leave out subsection (6).

This amendment is consequential on NC33.

Government amendment 79.

Amendment 62, page 30, line 12, at end insert—

“(9) This section shall, subject to subsection (10), cease to have effect at the end of the period of three years beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

(10) The Treasury may by regulations provide that this section shall continue in force for an additional period of up to three years from the end of the period specified in subsection (9).

(11) The power to make regulations under subsection (10) may only be exercised once.

(12) No regulations may be made under subsection (10) unless a draft has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.”

This amendment sunsets the provisions of Clause 42.

Amendment 63, in clause 45, page 31, line 25, at end insert—

“(5) This section shall, subject to subsection (6), cease to have effect at the end of the period of three years beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

(6) The Treasury may by regulations provide that this section shall continue in force for an additional period of up to three years from the end of the period specified in subsection (5).

(7) The power to make regulations under subsection (7) may only be exercised once.

(8) No regulations may be made under subsection (7) unless a draft has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.”

This amendment sunsets the provisions of Clause 45.

Government amendment 80.

Amendment 64, in clause 47, page 33, line 7, at end insert—

“(5) This section shall, subject to subsection (6), cease to have effect at the end of the period of three years beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

(6) The Treasury may by regulations provide that this section shall continue in force for an additional period of up to three years from the end of the period specified in subsection (5).

(7) The power to make regulations under subsection (7) may only be exercised once.

(8) No regulations may be made under subsection (7) unless a draft has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.”

This amendment sunsets the provisions of Clause 47.

Government amendment 81.

Amendment 22, in clause 48, page 33, line 29, at end insert—

“(5A) No regulations may be made under section 47 unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the House of Commons.”

Government amendment 23.

Amendment 61, page 33, line 31, leave out “applies” and insert

“or section (Additional regulations requiring the affirmative procedure (Amendment 2)) apply”.

This amendment is consequential on NC33.

Amendment 46, in clause 51, page 34, line 39, leave out second “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment provides that the power to make regulations about VAT, customs duty and excise duty in consequence of UK withdrawal from the EU is only exercised when it is necessary to do so.

Government amendment 82.

Amendment 10, page 35, line 1, leave out paragraph (a).

This amendment prevents regulations under Clause 51 from making any provision as might be made by an Act of Parliament.

Amendment 67, page 35, line 2, after “Act”, insert

“other than provision creating a delegated power”.

This amendment removes the power for regulations made under Clause 51 to create further delegated powers (tertiary legislation).

Amendment 47, page 35, line 4, at end insert—

“(c) may not be made after 29 March 2021.

‘(2A) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend the date in paragraph (1)(c) to ensure that the day specified is the day that any transition period related to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union comes to an end.

(2B) A statutory instrument containing regulations under subsection (2A) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

This amendment inserts a sunset provision that disallows any regulations to be made under Clause 51 after 29 March 2021, while also allowing the Secretary of State to alter that date, by regulations subject to the affirmative procedure, in the event that this is not the date on which any transition period following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union comes to an end.

Amendment 48, page 35, line 10, after “section” insert

“, apart from regulations under subsection (2A),”.

This amendment is consequential to Amendment 47.

Amendment 49, page 35, line 25, after “apply” insert

“, apart from regulations under subsection (2A),”.

This amendment is consequential to Amendment 47.

Amendment 65, page 35, line 38, at end insert—

“(10) This section shall, subject to subsection (11), cease to have effect at the end of the period of three years beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

(11) The Treasury may by regulations provide that this section shall continue in force for an additional period of up to three years from the end of the period specified in subsection (10).

(12) The power to make regulations under subsection (11) may only be exercised once.

(13) No regulations may be made under subsection (11) unless a draft has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.”

This amendment sunsets the provisions of Clause 51.

Amendment 50, in clause 54, page 37, line 5, leave out second “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment ensures that regulations making consequential and transitional provision may only be made when necessary.

Amendment 51, page 37, line 14, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment ensures that regulations making consequential and transitional provision may only be made when necessary.

Amendment 2, in clause 55, in clause 55, page 38, line 15, leave out from “force” to end of line 16 and insert

“in accordance with the provisions of section (EU Customs Union and pre-commencement requirements) (7).”

This amendment is consequential on NC1.

Amendment 13, page 38, line 15, leave out from “force” to end of line 16 and insert

“in accordance with the provisions of section (Preparedness for a customs union with the European Union) (5)”.

This amendment is consequential on NC11.

Amendment 20, page 38, line 15, leave out from “force” to end of line 16 and insert

“in accordance with the provisions of section (Implementation of a customs union with the EU as a negotiating objective) (7)”.

This amendment is consequential on NC12.

Amendment 5, page 38, line 17, leave out paragraphs (a) to (d) and insert—

“(a) section (Pre-commencement impact assessment of leaving the EU Customs Union), and”.

This amendment is consequential on NC6.

Amendment 52, page 38, line 17, after “(2)”, insert “and (2A)”.

This amendment paves the way for Amendment 53.

Amendment 6, page 38, line 24, leave out subsection (2).

This amendment is consequential on NC6.

Amendment 3, page 38, line 32, at end insert—

“(2A) No regulations may be made for the purpose of appointing a day for the coming into force of paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 (replacement of EU customs duties) unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the House of Commons.”

This amendment requires regulations commencing paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 to be subject to the affirmative procedure.

Amendment 4, page 38, line 32, at end insert—

“(2A) No regulations may be made for the purpose of appointing a day for the coming into force of any provision in Part 3 (amending or superseding EU law relating to VAT) unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the House of Commons.”

This amendment requires regulations commencing provisions in Part 3 to be subject to the affirmative procedure.

Amendment 28, page 38, line 32, at end insert—

“(2A) Regulations under subsection (2) may not be made until the Secretary of State has consulted with the Scottish Ministers on the effect of deviating from EU levels of import duties in relation to—

(a) preferential rates,

(b) dumping of goods and foreign subsidies,

(c) international disputes,

(d) replacement of EU trade duties.”

This amendment would require the UK Government to consult Scottish Ministers before deviating from EU levels of import duties in relation to (a) preferential rates (b) dumping of goods and foreign subsidies (c) international disputes (d) replacement of EU trade duties.

Amendment 29, page 38, line 32, at end insert—

“(2A) The following provisions come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may be regulations under this section appoint—

(a) section 41 (abolition of acquisition VAT and extension of import VAT),

(b) section 42 (EU law related to VAT), and

(c) section 43 and Schedule 8 (VAT amendment connected with withdrawal from EU).

(2B) Regulations under subsection (2A) may not be made until the Secretary of State has consulted with the Scottish Ministers on—

(a) the effect of leaving the EU VAT area on the lawful importation of goods into the United Kingdom from the European Union, and

(b) the effect of abolishing acquisition VAT and extending import VAT on the lawful importation of goods into the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

This amendment would require the UK Government to consult with Scottish Ministers before leaving the EU VAT Area before any system of upfront import VAT could be applied.

Amendment 31, page 38, line 32, at end insert—

“(2A) Regulations under subsection (2) may not be made until the Secretary of State has laid before the House of Commons an impact assessment that considers the effect on Scotland of deviating from EU levels of import duties in relation to

(a) preferential rates

(b) dumping of goods and foreign subsidies

(c) international disputes

(d) replacement of EU trade duties.”

This amendment would require the UK Government to make a Scottish impact assessment on the effects of deviating from EU levels of import duties in relation to (a) preferential rates (b) dumping of goods and foreign subsidies (c) international disputes (d) replacement of EU trade duties.

Amendment 53, page 38, line 32, at end insert—

“(2A) The following provisions come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may be regulations under this section appoint—

(a) section 41 (abolition of acquisition VAT and extension of import VAT),

(b) section 42 (EU law related to VAT), and

(c) section 43 and Schedule 8 (VAT amendment connected with withdrawal from EU).

(2B) Regulations under subsection (2A) may not be made until the Secretary of State has laid before the House of Commons an impact assessment that considers—

(a) the effect of leaving the EU VAT area on the lawful importation of goods into the United Kingdom from the European Union, and

(b) the effect of abolishing acquisition VAT and extending import VAT on the lawful importation of goods into the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

This amendment would require the UK Government to make an impact assessment on the effects of leaving the EU VAT Area before any system of upfront import VAT could be applied to goods lawfully being imported into the UK from the European Union under EU Law.

Amendment 7, page 38, line 34, at end insert—

“(3A) Subsection (3) is subject to section (Pre-commencement impact assessment of leaving the EU Customs Union).”

This amendment is consequential on NC6.

Amendment 15, in schedule 4, page 58, line 2, after “consumption”, insert “by independent customers”.

This amendment requires the comparable price for the purposes of determining the normal value to be assessed with respect to consumption by independent customers.

Amendment 16, page 58, line 4, at end insert

“sub-paragraphs (2A) to (2L) and with”.

This amendment paves the way for Amendment 17.

Amendment 17, page 58, line 6, at end insert—

“(2A) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (2) the following shall apply.

(2B) Where the exporter in the exporting country does not produce or does not sell the like goods, the normal value may be established on the basis of prices of other sellers or producers.

(2C) Prices between parties which appear to be associated or to have a compensatory arrangement with each other shall not be considered to be in the ordinary course of trade and shall not be used to establish the normal value unless it is determined that they are unaffected by the relationship.

(2D) Sales of the like goods intended for consumption in the exporting foreign country or territory shall normally be used to determine the normal value if such sales volume constitutes 5% or more of the sales volume exported to the United Kingdom, but a lower volume of sales may be used when, for example, the prices charged are considered representative for the market concerned.

(2E) When there are no or insufficient sales of the like goods in the ordinary course of trade, or where, because of the particular market situation, such sales do not permit a proper comparison, the normal value shall be calculated on the basis of—

(a) the cost of production in the country of origin plus a reasonable amount for selling, general and administrative costs and for profits, or

(b) the export prices, in the ordinary course of trade, to an appropriate third country, provided that those prices are representative.

(2F) Sales of the like goods in the domestic market of the exporting foreign country or territory, or export sales to a third country, at prices below unit production costs plus selling, general and administrative costs shall be treated as not being in the ordinary course of trade by reason of price, and disregarded in determining the normal value, if it is determined that such sales are made within an extended period in substantial quantities, and are at prices which do not provide for the recovery of all costs within a reasonable period of time.

(2G) The amounts for selling, for general and administrative costs and for profits shall be based whenever possible on actual data pertaining to production and sales, in the ordinary course of trade, of the like product by the exporter or producer under investigation.

(2H) When it is not possible to determine such amounts on the basis prescribed in sub-paragraph (2G), the amounts may be determined on the basis of—

(a) the weighted average of the actual amounts determined for other exporters or producers subject to investigation in respect of production and sales of the like product in the domestic market of the country of origin,

(b) the actual amounts applicable to production and sales, in the ordinary course of trade, of the same general category of products for the exporter or producer in question in the domestic market of the country of origin,

(c) any other reasonable method, provided that the amount for profit so established shall not exceed the profit normally realised by other exporters or producers on sales of products of the same general category in the domestic market of the country of origin.

(2I) If the TRA determines that it is not appropriate to use domestic prices and costs in the exporting country due to the existence in that country of significant distortions, the normal value shall be constructed exclusively on the basis of costs of production and sale reflecting undistorted prices or benchmarks, subject to the following provisions.

(2J) “Significant distortions” for this purpose means distortions which occur when reported prices or costs, including the costs of raw materials and energy, are not the result of free market forces because they are affected by substantial government intervention.

(2K) The TRA shall use the corresponding costs of production and sale in an appropriate representative country with a similar level of economic development as the exporting country, provided the relevant data are readily available; and, where there is more than one such country, preference shall be given, where appropriate, to countries with an adequate level of social and environmental protection.

(2L) If such data are not available, the TRA may use any other evidence it deems appropriate for establishing a fair normal value, including undistorted international prices, costs, or benchmarks; or costs in the exporting country to the extent that they are positively established not to be distorted.”

This amendment makes further provision on the face of the Bill about how the normal value and the comparable price are to be determined in certain circumstances.

Amendment 18, page 58, line 6, at end insert—

“(2M) A fair comparison shall be made between the export price and the normal value.

(2N) The comparison for the purposes of sub-paragraph (4) shall be made at the same level of trade and in respect of sales made at, as closely as possible, the same time and with due account taken of other differences which affect price comparability.

(2O) Where the normal value and the export price as established are not on such a comparable basis, due allowance, in the form of adjustments, shall be made in each case, on its merits, for differences in factors which are claimed, and demonstrated, to affect prices and price comparability.”

This amendment provides for fair comparison between the export price and the normal value.

Amendment 19, page 58, leave out lines 8 to 15 and insert—

“(a) to provide guidance with respect to the application of sub-paragraphs (2) to (2O).”

This amendment replaces the provision for definitions of key terms and the determination of related matters in individual cases with guidance about the application of the existing provisions and those contained in Amendments 17 and 18.

Amendment 25, page 58, line 12, and end insert—

“(v) ‘specified cases where it is not appropriate to use the price in paragraph 2(a)” including details on determining normal value in the presence of state distortions and non-market economy situations.’

This amendment would provide certainty by placing a marker in primary legislation to ensure that secondary legislation will clarify how, in anti-dumping investigations, the TRA will calculate the level of dumping for cases where the domestic prices of the alleged dumped imports cannot be used.

Government amendments 103 to 112.

Amendment 24, page 76, line 12, at end insert—

“25A (1) The TRA shall, in determining the amount which it is satisfied would be adequate to remove the injury described in paragraph 14(3)(b) or 18(4)(b), take account of all elements of the material injury being caused to the UK industry, including, but not limited to, the impact of reduced sales volumes, price suppression and curtailment of investment. Regulations may make further provision for this purpose.

(2) Regulations may make provision for specific circumstances in which paragraph 14(3)(b) or 18(4)(b) may not apply.”

Amendment 32, page 76, line 12, at end insert—

“25A (1) The TRA shall, in determining the amount which it is satisfied would be adequate to remove the injury described in paragraph 14(3)(b) or 18(4)(b), take account of all elements of the material injury being caused to UK industry, consumers and public administration and finances, including, but not limited to, the impact of reduced sales volumes, price suppression, curtailment of investment and availability of goods. Regulations may make further provision for this purpose.

(2) Regulations may make provision for specific circumstances in which paragraph 14(3)(b) or 18(4)(b) may not apply.

(3) No regulations may be made under sub-paragraph (2) unless—

(a) A Minister of the Crown has made a statement to the House of Commons that Her Majesty’s Government has negotiated with the relevant foreign government in order to remedy the activity causing injury to UK industry;

(b) lay before the House of Commons an impact assessment of implementing the regulations; and

(c) a draft of those regulations has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the House of Commons.”

This amendment ensures the TRA considers a wider range of economic variables when considering policy responses to trade disputes and allows UK ministers to make associated regulations setting aside this wider set of considerations, so long as the UK Government has entered negotiations with the third country in question, provided an impact assessment on policy changes and that the policy change has been approved by a resolution in the House of Commons.

Government amendment 113.

Government amendments 85 to 96.

Government amendment 114.

Government amendments 97 and 98.

Government amendments 115 and 116.

Government amendment 99.

Government amendments 117 and 118.

Government amendments 100 to 102.

Amendment 11, in schedule 7, page 122, line 35, at end insert—

“88A (1) Section 100A (designation of free zones) is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (2), insert—

‘(2A) The Treasury must, no later than 2 years after the passing of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, exercise the power under subsection (1) to designate Teesport as a free zone.’

(3) After subsection (3), insert—

‘(3A) The first exercise of the power under subsection (1) in pursuance of the duty under subsection (2A) shall be for a period of no less than 5 years.’”

This amendment requires the Treasury to designate Teesport as a free zone for customs purposes.

Amendment 73, in schedule 8, page 135, leave out paragraph 14.

Government amendment 83.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I rise to speak in support of new clause 1 and new clause 12, and I shall also seek to speak briefly against new clause 36 and amendment 73. I hope that there will be Divisions, in the event of which I will vote against new clause 36 and amendment 73. It is my firm view that it is deeply regrettable that the Government have accepted the new clause and amendment, even though they clearly seek to undermine, if not wreck, the great advances made in the White Paper.

I shall speak, as I like to think I always do, with openness, frankness and honesty. When I became a Business Minister in David Cameron’s Government in 2015, I would be the first to admit that I did not know the finer details of how many of our manufacturing industries and businesses actually worked. I knew about supply chains and their value, but I could not claim, in any way, shape or form, to be particularly familiar with them. I relished my brief, though, so I was soon enmeshed in the manufacturing sector in particular. For example, I had responsibility for the automotive sector, aerospace and, of course, the steel industry, which many Members will remember was having a particularly difficult time. I soon became not quite an expert, but I certainly knew my brief. I understood how supply chains worked, the value of frictionless trade, and what this thing called “just in time” was really all about. I had never actually seen it, though, until Friday, when I went to the Toyota factory at Burnaston, which is just outside Derby. I would make it compulsory for every single Member to go to Toyota—they could go to another car manufacturer in Swindon, or to Nissan in Sunderland, as I did shortly after the EU referendum—so that they could begin to understand what a supply chain is, why it relies on frictionless borders and what “just in time” means.

Let me give Members a bit of history about that remarkable Toyota plant just outside Derby. It is actually a legacy to Margaret Thatcher. It opened at the beginning of the 1990s. Some of us are old enough to remember those times and what had happened in many of our traditional manufacturing industries. My right hon. Friend Nicky Morgan, who is sitting next to me, has a business in her constituency called Brush. It is a long-standing business that has provided good-quality jobs for generations. I had Siemens in my constituency. At one time, I had a number of miners who worked in local pits in north Nottinghamshire and in Derbyshire. In due course, those pits closed, as did Siemens.

When we talk about Brexit, people extrapolate all sorts of things from the vote. One thing that definitely occurred—I know that it occurred for people in my constituency—was that a number of people voted leave because they felt left behind by what we call this global world and the global way of doing business. These people used to work, often down the pits in Nottinghamshire—I am from Worksop, so I understand the sort of lives that miners had and I have no romantic attachment to the coal mining industry—and in factories such as Siemens in high-quality jobs. Those jobs invariably paid good money, but they also added even more value to people’s lives. It was not just about the fact that it was work, which is, in itself, the right thing to do; it was not just the wages, which, in the deep coal mines in Nottinghamshire and at Siemens, were very good; and it was not just the trade and the skills that they conveyed—it was also that feeling of community and being valued. It was about all those great traditional British manufacturing values, which, in truth, began to disappear through the ’80s and into the ’90s. What the great Japanese car manufacturers brought back was much of that high-valued, highly skilled, super-effective and super-efficient manufacturing industry. That practice was not just confined to the automotive sector, because it runs right across many other sectors in manufacturing, which makes up 20% of our economy.

I say to all Conservative Members, “Shame on you if you have a manufacturer in your constituency that you have not been to to understand how a modern manufacturing business works and how it needs frictionless trade for the supply chains to work. Shame on you if you have not taken the opportunity to go to those places that might be outwith your constituency, but where your constituents work.” I say that very gently—

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I will take my hon. Friend’s intervention in a moment, but not yet.

I say that very gently to my hon. Friend Ben Bradley, as many of his constituents work in exactly the sorts of manufacturing industries that I am describing. No doubt, like a number of my constituents, some of them work at Toyota. When Members see how these wonderful manufacturing businesses work—whether it is ceramics, cars, automotives, potteries or glass—they will understand the importance of frictionless trade. What that means in the real world is that, at Toyota in Burnaston, parts arrive on lorries, which have come through the tunnel and straight up the motorway, and within three hours they are on the assembly line. It is an astonishing and an incredible achievement that this country should be proud of. It is part of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy—

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I will take my hon. Friend’s intervention in a moment.

It was Margaret Thatcher who, as a proud Conservative, championed free trade. I am a Tory. I believe in business. I believe in capitalism and in enterprise. I believe in our economy as it provides jobs and prosperity. It is indeed an engine of aspiration for so many of my constituents who want to see themselves going into apprenticeships at Rolls-Royce as much as they would like to go the finest universities.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

I knew Margaret Thatcher; I worked for Margaret Thatcher. My right hon. Friend ain’t no Margaret Thatcher.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I do not pretend to be able to walk in Margaret Thatcher’s boots, but I have read her speeches about the advantages of the single market. She was a huge champion—probably the biggest champion—of the single market. It was Margaret Thatcher who went over to Japan and promised the Japanese that our country would always stay in the single market. On that basis, Japanese business invested billions of pounds in this country.

My hon. Friend attacks me in a wholly unnecessary and really rather foolish way, but I hope that he will speak freely and honestly in our debate and give his assessment of what is facing our country if we do not get Brexit right. It is all well and good for Members to have their ideologically-driven, hard Brexit ideas when they are not able to face up to the reality of what they mean for people in my constituency and the rest of our country.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

In a moment.

The reality, which is faced in the White Paper, is that if we do not deliver frictionless trade in the way in which companies such as Toyota need and demand, they will simply not be able to operate. Some 81% of Toyota cars produced at Burnaston are exported into the European Union. And before anybody says, “Well, there will be new markets”—those unicorns that our Government will be chasing in new deals—please understand how the modern manufacturing industry works. Companies such as Toyota already make cars in other parts of the world to satisfy and supply the local market.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I will give way to my right hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough and then I will come down the row.

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Chair, Treasury Committee

Does not the intervention on my right hon. Friend made by our hon. Friend Sir Edward Leigh show what is the matter with this Brexit debate? Rather than talking about the detail and the risk to thousands of jobs across the country in our manufacturing sector—the Conservative party has championed that sector since 2010—he prefers to trade insults and trade on personalities.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

Here is a surprise: I completely agree with my right hon. Friend.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I said that I would go down the row first. In a moment gents; hang on.

Photo of Charlie Elphicke Charlie Elphicke Conservative, Dover

I have been listening with great interest to my right hon. Friend’s speech. I am a former remainer and fellow believer in free enterprise, which was why I set out a detailed plan as to how we can have frictionless trade using the World Trade Organisation trade facilitation agreement that was entered into in 2017.

My constituents have some questions that I would like to pose to my right hon. Friend. Why is it that so many lorries come in through Dover laden with goods yet so many return empty? Why is there a £100 billion trade surplus for the European Union? Why should we give the European Union access to our goods market but not insist on access to our financial services market after we leave the European Union?

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I do not wish to be rude to my hon. Friend, but that really is the stuff of madness. Of course we need to export more, but here is the real question that he should be asking. At the moment, a lorry that comes in from the European Union through Dover will take, at the most, two minutes to go through. If it comes from outside the European Union, the process takes 20 minutes at the least, and at the most—and more typically—it takes two hours. How does that transpose to the manufacturing sector and to the Toyota workers outside Derby—some 3,000 people, with three to five times as many in the supply chains?

I say to my hon. Friend that this, Sir, is the real world. In the real world, when Toyota makes an order for car seats, they are delivered absolutely ready on to the production line within four hours of the order being placed. If we do not deliver frictionless trade, either through a customs union or some magical third way that the Prime Minister thinks she can deliver—good luck to her on that—thousands of jobs will go, and hon. Members sitting on the Government Benches, in private conversations, know that to be the case. What they have said in those private conversations is that the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs will be worth it to regain our country’s sovereignty—tell that to the people who voted leave in my constituency. Nobody voted to be poorer, and nobody voted leave on the basis that somebody with a gold-plated pension and inherited wealth would take their jobs away from them.

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne Conservative, New Forest West 5:30 pm, 16th July 2018

I have a very successful manufacturer in my constituency abiding by the very disciplines that my right hon. Friend has, rightly, been so effusive about. Imagine, then, my surprise when I discovered that the proprietor and chief executive of this organisation, Col-Tec—one Mike Bailey—was to be my opponent as the UKIP candidate in the New Forest West division.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee)

I think the point that my right hon. Friend did not want to take is that there are plenty of businessmen who are in favour of leaving the European Union.

The point that I wanted to raise with my right hon. Friend is that her whole argument is passionately based on the fallacy that one cannot have just-in-time supply chains crossing international customs frontiers. In fact, that is the way that most of the rest of the world trades. At Toyota in her own constituency—I met Toyota last week—quite a substantial proportion of its componentry arrives from outside the European Union to be bolted on to its cars. She is putting up these completely false fears that just-in-time supply chains are threatened by trading across customs frontiers.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I have to say to my hon. Friend that that is absolute codswallop. When I went to Toyota, we were shown exactly the places where the parts had come from. For example, some parts had come from Japan. There was a special arrangement with Japan whereby the parts come into the factory and sit in a bonded warehouse. Those parts number less than 1% of the total. Toyota has 2.5 million parts coming into that factory, and the vast majority come from the European Union—it relies on frictionless trade.

With great respect to my hon. Friend, he is somebody who makes the case that we should be a member of the World Trade Organisation. Let us just get this one straight. If our country joins the World Trade Organisation—[Interruption.] Well, we are a member through our membership of the European Union. If we are a member of the WTO in our own right, we will have to abide by its rules, which say that every member must secure its borders—I repeat, must secure its borders. That does not just mean that our country, when we leave the European Union, must secure its borders, but that the European Union, whether it likes or not, must secure its borders. What does that mean? There will have to be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It is dishonest and disingenuous for people to stand up and make out that something other than that is the reality.

The White Paper faces up to Brexit reality, and that is what Conservative Members must now do. We have to face that reality, just like I have had to face the reality that we are leaving the European Union. Hon. Members have to do the right thing by their constituents and put trade and business at the heart of Brexit.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Conservative, Chelmsford

I want to go back to the point about enforcing our border. Some people say that, if we were trading under WTO rules, we would not need to have a border in Ireland but, under the WTO’s most-favoured-nation rules, if we did not enforce the border in Ireland, we would be in breach of our agreements with other parts of the world. We would have no right to say, “No border.” Furthermore, if Ireland did not enforce the border with the rest of the UK, it would be in breach of its obligations to the EU and, if the EU did not require Ireland to respect the border, it would be in breach of its obligations across the world. So I thank my right hon. Friend for making that point so clearly.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

That was a very long but very good intervention.

Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth

I have heard exactly the same points from businesses in my community. I have heard the same points about the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, too. That is why I favour staying in a customs union. The White Paper is full of magical thinking, but the amendments tabled by some in the right hon. Lady’s party directly contradict what is in the White Paper, because what they really want is a reckless no-deal Brexit in which we crash out, with all the damage that will cause.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I completely agree. I say to my Government that they are in grave danger of not just losing the plot but losing a considerable amount of support from the people of this country unless we get Brexit right. The people who put their names to those amendments—notably new clause 36 and amendment 73—did so not to be helpful to the Government and to support the White Paper. We know that from their public proclamations, in which they have tried to trash the White Paper.

I made it clear to the Whips and to—well, actually, to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, for whom I have a lot of time because he is a very good Minister, a very good man and a very good constituency MP. I say that because I have been to his constituency—

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Conservative, Wantage

That’s your career over, Mel.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

For the record, that was said by my hon. Friend Mr Djanogly. If anyone else had said it, I would have been very rude. [Interruption.] Sorry. Scrub that; it was my right hon. Friend Mr Vaizey—ever the trouble maker.

This is really serious. I told the Minister that I would not press my amendments to a vote. That is not because I lack courage—in fact, given events, I would like to think I have a bit of courage. Some say I do not have a fear gene at all. Just to remind hon. Members, three people have received custodial sentences for the death threats I have received. I am getting a bit tired of being called a traitor. Certain people on these Benches support a newspaper that, disgracefully, had the temerity to suggest that the Prime Minister of our country might in some way have committed treason by the production of this White Paper. That is outrageous. Right hon. and hon. Members on these Benches really need a bit of a reality check, not just on Brexit but on the way this party is conducting itself and on who they choose to call their friends.

Let me return to why I will not press my amendments to a vote.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. Before the right hon. Lady returns to the substance of her remarks, I just point out to her that she has already had 21 minutes of the debate, and—[Hon. Members: “More!”] Order. This is not a music hall. The right hon. Lady is perfectly in order—she has an awful lot of things to deal with and she has taken a lot of interventions—but I know that she will quite soon begin to come to a peroration.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

By remarkable coincidence, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am coming to the conclusion of my remarks. I want to explain why I will not press my amendments to a vote, as I indicated to the Minister last week. The reason is the production of the White Paper.

I will be very frank: the White Paper does not go as far as it should—it is silent on services, which make up 80% of our economy—but I welcome it because it absolutely marks that our Prime Minister understands the needs of British business, in particular manufacturing businesses, and is determined to do the right thing. She has come up with this third way. Whether she can achieve it remains to be seen, but I decided not to press my amendments to a vote because of my support for the White Paper and my desire to give that third way a chance.

Having done that, I believed, as a pragmatic, reasonable, moderate Conservative, that I had done the right thing by my Prime Minister and, as much as anything else, by my country. Imagine, therefore, my profound disappointment that the Government today, for reasons I can just about understand, decided to accept four amendments, two of which are not controversial but two of which—new clause 36 and amendment 73—seek to wreck and undermine this.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield

Is not one of the features of these two amendments the fact that they would not do what their proposers seek them to do? The fact that the Government have chosen to accept amendments that are unnecessary and useless shows that the only intention behind their tabling was malevolent? The fact that they are being maintained at the present time is also an act of malevolence towards the Government by the proposers.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

I completely agree with my right hon. and learned Friend. Members on the Government Front Bench, and indeed across the House, should be hanging their heads in shame. This is the stuff of complete madness. The only reason the Government have accepted the amendments is that they are frightened of around 40 Members of Parliament—the hard, no-deal Brexiteers —who should have been seen off a long time ago. These people do not want a responsible Brexit; they want their version of Brexit. They do not even represent the people who actually voted to leave. The consequences are grave, and not just for this party, but for our country. One has to wonder who is in charge. Who is running Britain? Is it the Prime Minister, or is it my hon. Friend Mr Rees-Mogg? I know where my money is at the moment.

Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth

What has really been going on here is that some of these extreme individuals have been threatening the Government, trying to hold them hostage, and saying that they will vote against Third Reading and bring the Government down, in order to get these bizarre, contradictory amendments through.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. It is disgraceful, because this White Paper is a genuine attempt by our Prime Minister to heal the divisions in our party, and indeed the divisions in our country, and take us to a smooth and sensible Brexit that delivers for everybody.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, if the Government were guaranteed the support of the Labour party and the Scottish National party against these wrecking amendments, we could finally reveal what a tiny minority of the House of Commons is trying to hold us all to ransom over a reasonable deal with the European Union?

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

My right hon. and learned Friend is right, as ever.

The truth is that both main political parties are now in the grasp of the few who falsely claim to speak for the many. A lack of ability, or perhaps courage, the over-liking of the safety and sanctity of ministerial office or, frankly, just a quiet life, on whichever side of the House, and a guaranteed income for a loyal Back Bencher with a handsome majority, mean that our country is hurtling not just towards the extremes of British political life, but over the Brexit cliff, which the overwhelming majority of leavers did not vote for—indeed, they were promised the precise opposite.

The time has come for the nonsense to be stopped. The time has come for people to show courage and do the right thing by our country. We are leaving the European Union, but we have to leave in such a way that protects jobs and prosperity—and peace in Northern Ireland—for everybody in this country. It is time for people to put aside the ideology and the nonsenses that invariably come from not inhabiting the real world. Let us face up to reality, as this White Paper seeks to do, and reject these two ludicrous amendments that the Government have agreed to. In due course, let us wake up to the further reality: we will end up in the single market and the customs union; the only question is when.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

I commend Anna Soubry for the passion with which she has spoken. She spoke authentically about the care and attention that she has taken to look into the supply chain issues, the just-in-time delivery systems that are the foundation of modern manufacturing in our country. She was not taking an ideological view, which certain Conservative Members, who may guffaw at that, might take, but thinking about the economy: our constituents’ jobs and all the prosperity and tax revenues that pay for the vital public services that we need to keep this country going. The national health service, the education system, housing and local government all depend on a healthy, vibrant economy.

If we go down the avenue that some of the hard Brexiteers suggest, we will not only jeopardise jobs, but face a decade or more of austerity. The Treasury’s analysis has been revealed and shows that a big black hole emerges in Treasury tax revenues if we leave the customs union and the single market, which, from my point of view, are the absolute minimum of where this country needs to be.

The amendments cover several different issues, but the right hon. Member for Broxtowe touched on the wrecking amendments tabled by the European Reform Group— members of the Conservative hard Brexit crew. She is probably right that there are about 40 of them, and it would be a terrible shame if the Prime Minister, rather than looking at where the equilibrium rests in Parliament—the balance of opinion, which I do not think is for a hard Brexit—were instead to be hijacked and have her agenda taken over by that Trumpian hard Brexit view. Those amendments, particularly new clause 36, which is a clearly a wrecking amendment to the facilitated customs arrangement that the Prime Minister put in the Chequers agreement, are designed to ensure that the Chequers plan lasts for only one week.

I have my issues with the Chequers plan. I think it falls short of that de minimis customs union, EEA, single market position. However, I draw Members’ attention to amendment 73, which goes way beyond the Chequers arrangement. It would provide that if Britain ever entered into any future customs union with whatever territories, we could not have our current smooth VAT acquisition arrangements, whereby we avoid firms having to pay VAT upfront at the border and have frictionless trade, of which VAT is such an important part.

I hope my hon. Friends on the Front Bench as well as Conservative Members are listening to that point, because the ERG’s amendment 73 is a wrecking amendment, which would hurt our economy regardless of the Chequers plan. It goes beyond that and would undermine our customs arrangements more broadly. Even if the Government want to accept that, I implore Labour Front Benchers to oppose amendment 73 in particular.

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset 5:45 pm, 16th July 2018

The hon. Gentleman misunderstands amendment 73. One of the other amendments, which the Government have also accepted, would stop them having a Henry VIII power for a new customs union. If a new customs union were to be introduced by legislation, amendment 73 could be brought in under that customs arrangement. It simply retains power for this House.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

We have got the hon. Gentleman’s measure now. He used to be an entertaining curiosity, but no longer. He represents a major present threat to the future of our economy and our constituents’ jobs. He is trying to scupper our smooth frictionless arrangements for businesses that currently have to pay VAT but can do so because we treat it as a matter of dispatches and arrivals, rather than its having to be paid upfront. By deleting paragraph 14 of schedule 8, the hon. Gentleman would hole future VAT arrangements below the water line.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Conservative, Huntingdon

Are we not seeing here an insertion of further red lines when we have enough of them already?

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

Exactly. It would be sensible of the Government to read the runes and start thinking about where there is a consensus in Parliament for a positive way forward rather than constantly laying down or accepting more red lines, or caving in to threats from those who are very loud but represent a tiny minority viewpoint.

New clause 2 is really important because it would preserve our current role of participation in the EU VAT area. I hope hon. Members will see the purpose of that. I think we currently have 25 million customs declarations paying VAT at the border. That will potentially rise to 255 million. Imagine the bureaucracy, the cost of administration and the paperwork for our VAT system if those declarations also have to be made at the border. Amendment 73 would end up taking out our participation. I intended to raise this issue as a matter of debate, but perhaps I should press new clause 2 to a vote, because the EU VAT area is absolutely crucial to avoiding a hard border.

It is important that we pick out the problems with the Chequers arrangement. I understand that the Prime Minister is trying to find some sort of balance, but I am afraid to say that the notion of a facilitated customs arrangement just does not quite get us to where we need to be. I am delighted with the acceptance of how important a common rulebook for goods is to our country. That recognition of economic reality is important, but it is only one piece of the jigsaw that we need. For instance, we need to ensure that the 80% of our economy in the services sector is not completely abandoned and that we lose out as a result.

Photo of Heidi Allen Heidi Allen Conservative, South Cambridgeshire

I would just like to reflect on how refreshing it is—it is probably what the majority of the country wants to see—that sensible people are working cross-party to try to find a way forward in this dreadful mess. I agree with the hon. Gentleman on the Chequers arrangement. It is an opening bid to the EU, is it not, saying, “Okay, come back and tell us which pieces you are happy or unhappy with”? I am interested in whether he knows Labour’s position on the wrecking amendments, specifically amendments 73 and 36. Will he and his party will be joining us in voting against them?

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

Well, I will certainly want to vote against amendment 73, but my hon. Friends will make their own remarks in their own time. I do not know what their intentions are, as I have not had a chance to hear from them. Intuitively, I doubt very much that my hon. Friends, knowing what Mr Rees-Mogg is up to, knowing where the members of the ERG come from on the political spectrum—the hard right Brexit perspective—and knowing how important the economy is to the future of this country, will abstain on amendment 73.

Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth

It is very clear, as my hon. Friend says, who those Members are working with and what their agenda is. They are working with the likes of Nigel Farage and others who would like to see us crash out, so that they can deregulate the economy and change it into a Singapore-style tax haven on the edge of Europe where they can pursue their right-wing fantasies.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

Yes, indeed.

It is helpful if we view the two Bills we are considering today and tomorrow as a piece, as they interrelate with one another. Many of the amendments tabled for the Trade Bill tomorrow on a customs union are also on today’s amendment paper. I say gently to the Government, “Nice try with your facilitated customs arrangement, but it is not going to fly for a number of different reasons.” I urge the Chancellor and the Minister to stop putting down red lines. They will only find that they come back and embarrass them when they have to accept a customs union.

Let me quickly go into detail on why a customs union really will have to apply in this situation. There may be Conservative Members who agree with me on this point. The facilitated customs arrangement may well apply if we have a free trade agreement with the EU, but only a customs union gets rid of what is known as the rules of origin requirements—the local content thresholds needed to prove whether an FTA is in place to qualify for preferential tariff arrangements. Under a customs union, we do not have to have rules of origin checks. That is a massive advantage of the customs union.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee)

That is not actually correct. It is quite common in a free trade agreement to have what is known as an auto-pact, so that there can be frictionless arrangements, for example for the motor industry. The same could apply for aerospace.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

There are certain manufactured goods where they have that, but across the piece of a whole economy we do not see a circumstance where rules of origin have been abolished in the way the hon. Gentleman describes. Rules of origin are really quite burdensome for manufacturers to prove. They have to count the content and document where components come from. They then have to lodge those documents as they cross the border. My point is that the facilitated customs arrangement, with its rules of origin requirements, will have friction at the border. For that reason, we are going to have to accept that a customs union is preferable.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Conservative, Chelmsford

On the rules of origin, the hon. Gentleman may wish to read the pan-Euro-Mediterranean convention on rules of origin, which covers a broader area than just the customs union. It is possible to have agreement on rules of origin outside the customs union.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

My experience is very different in terms of the information I have. If we look across the range of goods as a whole, there are problems with rules of origin outside the customs union.

The second problem with the facilitated customs arrangement is that it breaches article 3 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and TradeGATT—which is part of the World Trade Organisation rules. Article 3 is the national treatment principle, which says that we should not treat imported goods unfairly relative to domestically produced goods. Because of the track and trace requirements in the facilitated customs arrangement architecture, we will have to treat imported goods differently to those produced and made in the UK.

The third problem is that if we want to make free trade agreements with the rest of the world, the Government are shooting themselves in the foot with the facilitated customs arrangement because article 24 of GATT states that we have to eliminate substantially all trade barriers between constituent trade authorities. If the UK is having to collect tariffs on behalf of the EU, that introduces a barrier that will have to fetter future free trade agreements. I do not particularly believe we can get better FTAs beyond the customs union; I think our leverage as part of the EU is superior, but on a technical level a facilitated customs arrangement, I am afraid to say, is just not going to wash.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union

On the important issue of rules of origin, which my hon. Friend has just raised, we have heard the argument from some people is that it is not a problem. If it is not a problem, then why do the Government, in paragraph 23 of the White Paper, state that the UK is proposing

“no routine requirements for rules of origin between the UK and the EU”?

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

Exactly. Presumably the Government think they can negotiate on that between the UK and the EU bilaterally, but actually that is not the way that this works. Under the WTO arrangements, we have to make sure we have the same application of rules as we would in other arrangements around the world.

A customs union is not just preferable; it is the only realistic option. The idea that the European Union is going to say, “Fine, we’re happy with you splitting the four freedoms” is for the birds. That is not going to happen, especially as populism is running riot worldwide. The EU feels very firmly that it wants to defend the international rules-based system. It feels very firmly that the four freedoms of the single market and the customs union are integral to it. The idea that Switzerland provides an example, when it has endured decades of constant treaty negotiations year after year after year—that is not a model Britain should seek to parallel.

The idea that we should simply hope that by focusing on the withdrawal agreement we can secure our future is also a fallacy. The notion that we will be able just to staple on to the back of this arrangement, on a few sides of A4, political statements on our future relationship with the EU is deeply dangerous. We have to make sure that we settle these issues—I know the former Brexit Secretary agrees on this particular point. The idea that what is said on one side of exit day will necessarily be enforced on the other side of exit day is just not true. There is no legal enforceability to any warm words about our future relationship. These issues have to be set out at this particular stage.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that it is time we listen to the people who run businesses, rather than sit in our comfortable seats telling people what to do?

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

Yes, and the problem we have had is that ideology and populism have been running this country for the last few years. We need to stop that and assert commonsense economic reality much more. As the right hon. Member for Broxtowe was saying in her speech, this transcends the political parties. This is not a time to be playing party political games of advantage. Our country is absolutely at stake here.

I am afraid to say to the Government that it is only a matter of time before the EU, probably quite politely, says, “Nice try with your facilitated customs arrangement. Nice try with Chequers, but you are going to have to recognise the reality”—that is, the building blocks that exist for all their partnerships and arrangements with the rest of the European Union. To my mind, that means the customs union, the EEA, potentially EFTA, and the single market. It would be a truly backward step for us in any way to undermine the ability of the UK to participate in a customs union, so we need these VAT rules to be put in place and continued. I also hope that my Front Benchers will see, certainly tomorrow, the opportunity to secure support for a customs union, which is growing by the hour in this House.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. It will be obvious to the House that a great many people want to speak. We have three hours of debate left, but we cannot continue with speeches of the length that we have had so far, although there is nothing wrong with what any hon. Members have done. We will therefore start with a time limit of 12 minutes.

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

For the convenience of members of the Gallery, I should start by saying that this is not a resignation statement—that was last week. This week is a return to my normal business, as an ordinary Back Bencher carrying out the scrutiny of business. I thought that it would be rather mundane until I walked into what appears to be this rhetorical firefight that we have had so far in the debate.

Before I come back to that, the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill and its partner, the Trade Bill coming tomorrow, are vital pieces of legislation. In the newspapers at the weekend, I read that some people were so cross with the White Paper that they were proposing to vote against this. Well, I do not think that they can be much more cross than me with the White Paper, but I urge them not to vote against it. These are vital pieces of legislation and they are necessary, whether we have the Government’s White Paper policy, my old White Paper policy, the FTA that some have talked about or indeed even the World Trade Organisation outcome. In every single case, we need these Bills and therefore I will be supporting them.

I want to speak directly to the new clause proposed by my right hon. Friend Anna Soubry. I will do so without impugning anybody’s motives or questioning whether somebody is acting in the national interest or not and I will not be firing off any gibes. I am not quite sure who she was referring to when she talked about having an excessive attachment to public office, but I do not think it was me. The simple truth is that this is a vitally important argument. It is central to the whole question of the economic aspect of Brexit—Brexit is not just economic; it is democratic as well, but it is central to that—and I will put to one side in my arguments the fact that being out of the customs union was in the Conservative party’s manifesto and therefore, in theory at least, one we are committed to.

The arguments go right to the heart of the principal issues. The proponents of the new clauses have a clear belief in the national economic interest, but they clearly believe that being outside the customs union will lead to a precipitate loss of trade, and that the loss of the ability to make trade deals matters less than that potential loss of trade. That is the core of the argument. It is pretty straightforward in that respect.

Let us look at some facts. Back in 1999, the United Kingdom—we are talking about the customs union, so this is about goods—was exporting 60% of its goods to the European Union and 40% to the rest of the world. Since then, that has gone down by approximately 1% per annum, so it is now about 45% to the European Union and the rest to the rest of the world. Pretty much by the end of this decade, it is likely to be 60:40 in favour of the rest of the world, so because it takes away the right to our own commercial policy, the prospect of staying inside the customs union favours the shrinking minority of our trade over the expanding, fast-growing majority of that trade. That is the very simple, fundamental, initial point that we should take on board. It also presumes that being outside the customs union will significantly damage trade because there will be friction at the border.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons

One of the most remarkable features of the last 20 years has been the globalised economy and the very rapid growth and emergence of major new markets, so inevitably the balance of our trade was going to grow with them and decline with the European Union. We want to remain as attractive to investors from the new economies as to the old. It does us no advantage in our dealings with China, Brazil and India to damage the value of our access to the European market. Outside events have altered this balance; it is not a failing of our EU arrangements.

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

My right hon. and learned Friend was being uncharacteristically inattentive, because that is exactly what I said: because of the growth in world trade, that is what is going on. He is exactly right that we should take a great interest in the fast growth in world trade because we are best placed, probably of most countries in the world, to take the most advantage of that. Also within his comment was the presumption, which I was about to address, that friction in our trade with the European Union—low friction, but friction—will cause enormous damage.

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

I will give way, but I will have to constrain interventions because of the time limit.

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that many successful manufacturing businesses in Britain today have these just-in-time supply chains bringing in large quantities of raw material and component from outside the EU through a system of authorised economic operators, electronic manifests and the settlement of any bills not at the port? There are not people sitting in boxes in the port taking the money.

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

My right hon. Friend is exactly right. It is an issue that I will return to in a second, but before I do I want to make a point about friction. The presumption in all this is that we have a magical, frictionless system at the moment. Actually, we will have seen on our television screens that that is not true. This entire House will have watched Operation Stack in progress over various years. Operation Stack is what we do when one of the ports gets locked up for one reason or another—a strike in France or whatever. It has been operated 74 times in 20 years. In 2015, it took up 31 days of friction, and our businesses—the just-in-time businesses and the perishable goods businesses—all coped with it, so let us not frighten ourselves in doing this negotiation. Nobody wants it and nobody likes it, but they cope with it. My hon. Friend Charlie Elphicke pointed out that with World Trade Organisation facilitation, we will actually minimise the friction on trade through these ports, as was reinforced by my right hon. Friend John Redwood.

Secondly, while people understandably focus on some of the pressure points—most particularly Dover, which we heard about a second ago—they forget that there is strong competition between the ports on the North sea and the ports on the channel. Zeebrugge, Antwerp and Rotterdam all want to increase their throughput at the cost of the Calais-Dover crossing. They are already preparing for increases in throughput in their own areas when we are outside the EU and preparing for the increase in work—because there will be some increase in work—but again, as my right hon. Friend said, it will not happen at the border. It will happen before they get there or after they pass through it, so our so-called dependency on French ports will turn out to be illusory.

Thirdly, in support of the arguments that any friction at the border is unacceptable we hear lots of talk about supply chains. We had it from my right hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe who proposed this new clause. The simple truth is that this ignores the fact, as my hon. Friend Sir Bernard Jenkin pointed out, that lots of international supply chain operations operate across borders where there are customs, tariff and currency arrangements. I happen to know one of them very well, because I operated a business across just such a border myself—between Canada and the USA. [Hon. Members: “Thirty years ago.”] I went back last year.

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

No, I will not give way.

I went back last year to look at it again, and yes it was 15-year-old technology. It could be better now; it could be faster. What happens in Detroit, the centre of the American motor industry? In Ontario, across a very difficult and constrained border, tougher than Dover, there is an entire industry supplying parts, components and engines for that motor car industry. It operates across a border that has tariffs on it too.

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

No, if my hon. Friend will forgive me. I am short of time.

The simple truth is they operate even where there are tariffs, and we are proposing a non-tariff arrangement—there would be no tariffs here; the primary concerns will not be the collection money but other things.

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

No, if my right hon. Friend will forgive me.

The issues that remain at the border will depend on the customs policy we decide on, which very clearly will alter how that border operates. It will include rules of origin, as has already been pointed out; tariff-paid status, if we are in the future customs arrangement, which is more difficult than rules of origin; and regulatory compliance. None requires action at the border. All can be dealt with by electronic pre-notification or pre or post-audit at either origin or destination.

Without doubt, the most difficult issue in the negotiations as they relate to borders has been Northern Ireland. There is no way, however, that a UK Government is ever going to install a hard border in Northern Ireland—that is as plain as a pikestaff. No UK Government would risk the peace process, which has been going on for decades. Neither would the Irish Government. I cannot imagine in a century that an Irish Government would do that either. What many people forget, however, is that there is already a border there—there is a currency border, a VAT border, an excise border, and there are other tax borders. They are operated north and south of the border by the UK and the Irish tax and customs collection organisations, operating together using intelligence- led intervention.

Much is made of the 300 border crossings. One of the outstanding issues with being outside the customs union is, as somebody said, the issue of rules of origin, but in Northern Ireland, while there may be 300 border crossings, there are only six ports. Rest-of-world imports can actually be surveilled and controlled very straightforwardly. This issue, which has become much more difficult since it was politicised—it was actually working quite well in the negotiations before it was politicised—is eminently soluble, by technical means and co-operation between the two states.

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

If what the right hon. Gentleman says about the border is so, why was he part of a Government that agreed to the backstop last December?

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

They did not agree to the backstop; they agreed to the joint report that talked about full alignment. [Interruption.] Does the hon. and learned Lady want to listen to the answer? She will remember me standing at the Dispatch Box saying that we interpreted full alignment as outcome alignment and relating directly to the issues in the north-south strands—principally, agriculture, transport, and environment as it applies to the single electricity market. Those are the primary strands, and they are eminently soluble, by arrangements that already exist in Northern Ireland—for example, the carve-out on environmental legislation. It is a very straightforward issue, but it has been blown up into something else by the other side of the negotiations.

The risk and costs of having a customs border are less than is being claimed, and what we would give up to join a customs union is much more than is imagined. The EU is a slow and not very effective negotiator of free trade agreements. We keep hearing about its size and negotiating power, but the fact that it represents 28 different countries means it comes up with sub-optimal outcomes all the time, and actually we are the country that does least well out of the EU’s free trade agreements. They almost never involve services, for example, which are our primary trade. The EU is a slow and not very effective negotiator of trade deals.

We will be smaller, of course, but many countries that are smaller than us do very, very good trade deals. Switzerland is an obvious example. Its deals are much more effective than ours. By the way, we are bigger than the bottom 18 European countries put together, so we are not small by any normal measure of the word. We also have huge advantages over and above our economic weight. We have the English language and English law and we are leaders in a whole series of areas, such as life sciences, artificial intelligence, the internet and medicine. We are one of the leading countries in terms of intellectual exports—“services” encompasses intellectual exports—and in that the English language is the most powerful weapon possible.

In trying to deal with a problem that is less bad than its supporters think, the proposal in the new clause would throw away a power and a right that is incredibly important—much more important than they think. They are trying to defend a false past and giving up a real future. There we are.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 6:15 pm, 16th July 2018

It is interesting to follow the former Brexit Secretary and to reflect on the speech he has just given. It explained why he resigned from the Government but, in the end, it just clashes with reality—that is the unfortunate detail of the evidence he has put to the House today.

I shall speak in support of new clause 1, but also to my new clause 6 and amendment 9, which relate to conducting an impact assessment on the effect of leaving the common external tariff. I shall also speak against amendment 73 and new clause 36. We have heard why the former Brexit Secretary believes that any kind of customs union would somehow be bad for Britain and why we would be better off without it, and I will first address the fallacies in his argument. He was extraordinarily dismissive of the impact of checks at the border, and of delays and additional costs, particularly for manufacturers and just-in-time production.

I make no bones about the fact that I am speaking strongly in support of manufacturing industry in my constituency. I will resist the temptation to go off on a tangent about Haribo and the Starmix I am sometimes allowed to test when I go to visit, but people there do tell me how important it is that they can bring ingredients to and fro smoothly across the border and talk about the impact of such delays.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

Did the right hon. Lady notice that there was no detail about the reality of the America-Canada border, which took 10 years to construct, cost £10 billion, deals with facial recognition, and involves 100 companies in the automotive sector of Detroit and nothing more? Does she think that such a model would not provide the frictionless trade that our manufacturing sector needs?

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee

I completely agree with the right hon. Lady. The former Brexit Secretary seems to be arguing that because companies trade across borders that involve customs checks, we should rip up our customs-free borders. He is saying that because those trades take place, it is okay somehow to add costs to our trading process. Why on earth would we do that? Why on earth would we add burdens to businesses that do not face them at the moment? Why on earth would we make the process difficult and more costly for them? It is not that we think all trade will stop—of course it will not—but the point is that that trade will become more costly and burdensome, and our businesses and manufacturers will be at a disadvantage compared with their European neighbours and competitors. That is unfair on our manufacturers, which we in this House should be standing up for. I certainly believe in standing up for Yorkshire manufacturing.

The former Brexit Secretary also seemed to be arguing that, because we coped with Operation Stack before, let us have more delays again. Yes, we can cope, but Operation Stack cost businesses coping with those long delays a fortune.

Photo of Marcus Fysh Marcus Fysh Conservative, Yeovil

Will the right hon. Lady give some consideration to supporting our new clause 36, which will become a key piece of legislation if the UK is to operate proper trade defences? She mentioned manufacturing, and I note that many Labour Members have constituencies where workers may depend on the UK’s having good trade defences. Under the facilitated customs arrangement, that would not be possible without new clause 36.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee

Let me just deal with new clause 36. If the Government are saying that they will accept it, I do not understand how that does not rip a hole right through their White Paper. New clause 36 explicitly states that we cannot collect customs and excise duties at the border on behalf of another country unless that country is going to do the same for us, but the White Paper states:

“However, the UK is not proposing that the EU applies the UK’s tariffs and trade policy at its border for goods intended for the UK.”

That is the opposite of what is said in new clause 36. Have the Government ripped up their own White Paper in the space of a couple of days? This is a chaotic approach to a matter that is so serious, and it shows a ridiculous wobbling in the face of a small group of people who I do not believe speak for the majority in this country.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons

That phrase in the White Paper describes a perfectly sensible arrangement. If we adopt the new clause, 27 other countries will face the prospect of searching for new technology and setting up their own bureaucratic arrangements to accommodate the Brexiteers in my party. We urgently need these EU negotiations to start with partners who can rely on us to stick to a consistent line, and it could be very damaging to change the basic position on such an important matter within one week.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee

I think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is right on two counts. First, I think that this inconsistency and buckling in the face of objections from what I consider to be an unrepresentative group is the wrong approach. Secondly, I think that these customs arrangements are immensely important.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee

No, I will not, because there is a time limit and I want to finish my speech early so that others can contribute.

Members who oppose any form of customs union are underestimating the significance of rules of origin checks which, according to the Government’s own analysis, can burden businesses with additional costs amounting to between 4% and 15%.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee)

Why would any company bother to carry out expensive rules of origin checks if paying the tariff, which might be as little as 2%, would be much cheaper? It is as simple as that.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee

That is really flipped logic. The hon. Gentleman is effectively saying, “They do not have to do the checks because they can all just pay the tariffs.” Why on earth are we going through this whole process in the first place if all we are going to get is a tiny reduction in tariffs that no one will take advantage of in order to get any benefits?

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

The logic is actually very simple. Empirical evidence shows that in international trade, companies seek to claim their rebates and do what is necessary to avoid tariffs when a tariff is lower than 3%, not when it is above. What that tells us is that the cost of rules of origin administration is less than 3%. Companies are rational operators. The numbers that the right hon. Lady cited from a supposed Government study were wrong.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee

I would caution the right hon. Gentleman against dismissing the rules of origin checks. There is a huge worry about the burden that they will impose on small businesses in particular. There is a big difference between large and small businesses in this regard. It might be worth large businesses claiming the money back because they can set up systems to do so, but for small businesses the process can be devastating. I am thinking particularly of the huge number of small businesses that have not yet traded outside the EU and for which rules of origin will be a new burden.

Why on earth would we want to add these additional burdens and checks on businesses that have not faced them before? I find myself in a very strange position. I, as a Labour MP, am arguing far more strongly and passionately against these additional burdens on businesses than those on the hard right of the Conservative party, who ought to be arguing against such burdens.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee

I will give way once more, but I am conscious of the time.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Surely rules of origin checks are about not only tariffs, but environmental protection, for example. It is not just about the money; it is about where the products have come from, how they were produced, and whether they conform with what we believe in.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee

The hon. Lady is right. We need to address the wider issues relating to friction at the border as well.

Let me say something about the Government’s facilitated customs arrangement. I understand what Ministers are trying to do and that they are trying to square a circle. They are trying to pull us out of the common external tariff without paying any of the penalties of being outside it. I think that that is a leap of faith—it is implausible. I think that there are huge questions about whether such an arrangement is deliverable, and whether it would be robust enough for the EU ever to sign up for it.

The Government are expecting that there will be sufficiently robust procedures for tariffs to be collected at the border for widgets coming in from the United States or other countries, and therefore no checks—no spot checks; no additional checks—on whether forms are being filled in correctly and accurately, on whether there is fraud, and on whether there is an incentive for companies to fill in the forms in respect of one direction but then actually to move the goods in another. That is significant, because the European Commission is currently taking action to recover what it believes is €2 billion of under-claimed customs duties as a result of the UK’s failure to crack down on Chinese clothing importers’ customs fraud. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that, the point is that the European Commission and EU member states do not have confidence in our customs arrangements at the moment—never mind our asking them to join in a huge leap of faith with their agreeing to our future facilitated customs arrangement. The Government are relying on some whizzy wonderful new technology, and while I hope that that will arrive very quickly, there are serious questions about how long that will take and what the consequences will be.

My new clause 6 calls for a proper impact assessment of the consequences of being outside the common external tariff. I still cannot believe that that has not been done. I cannot believe that there has been no serious assessment of the fantasy future trade deals that will somehow make us better off, or of the additional burdens that will result from being outside the common external tariff, which will make us worse off.

Let me now say something about amendment 73, which I think is one of the most destructive measures tabled by some of the hard-right Conservatives in the European Research Group. It would remove from the Bill any provisions that would be needed for a customs union. Mr Rees-Mogg, who chairs the ERG, has said that that is okay because there will be a future vote. Why should there be a future vote? Why should we not vote now? I think that we should have a customs union, so let us have that vote now, rather than voting to remove the provisions from the Bill. Why on earth, for the sake of manufacturing, would we ditch those customs provisions? The ERG wants to remove the possibility of a customs union from the Bill.

I am astonished that Ministers want to accept that proposal. It is deeply destructive, and it would actually make it harder for the Government to secure the customs arrangements that we need. It means that if their facilitated customs arrangement does not work, the fall-back position will be no customs deal at all, which would be deeply damaging for our manufacturers.

I hope that our Front Benchers will also vote against this deeply damaging ERG amendment because I do not see how we can tolerate the damage that the hard right of the Conservative party wants to do to our manufacturing industry. We need to be the party that will stand up for manufacturing industry and ensure that our manufacturers can get the best possible deal as part of the Brexit process. We owe it to them to do that.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

Order. Mr Clarke will be the last Member to speak under the 12-minute limit. By how much the subsequent limit will have to be lowered is very much dependent on the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons

Mr Speaker, I am grateful to you for calling me. You may be disbelieving, but I assure you that I will do my best to speak for fewer than 12 minutes, so I shall be rather more pithy than usual.

For the last 40 years, we have achieved some remarkable transformations in the British economy. We have made ourselves one of the most attractive economies in the world for inward investment, and developed an extremely competitive modern economy in both goods and services. That is not entirely attributable to the single market and the customs union, but they played a very large part. The UK is regarded by many of the great firms that invest in this country as the most business-friendly member of the EU and the most attractive place to invest in a way that gives absolutely unfettered access to the largest developed international free trade area in the world. I personally have never understood why we are seeking to detract from that. In the referendum campaign absolutely nobody made a major feature anywhere of saying that we should withdraw from these arrangements, and certainly nobody advocated the virtues of putting in place at our ports and borders customs checks, customs procedures, tariffs, regulatory divergence and all the things that cause cost.

The aim of my right hon. Friend Mr Davis, who is an old friend for whom I have very considerable respect, is rather the same as mine: he takes as the basis of his arguments that he wants Britain to be one of the most attractive, if not the most attractive, place for the investment we need in future years. But, with great respect, I think he employs considerable ingenuity, based on his knowledge of the subject, of course, about the attempts made in other parts of the world to mitigate the consequences of not having a totally open border. The Canadian-US border is not, for most of its trade, totally free; it is not devoid of queues and delays.

The other argument that we have had so far to dismiss our worries on this issue is, “Well, a 20-minute delay compared with a three-minute delay is not going to deter anybody.” The fact is that the major manufacturers—I will stick to manufacturing because it is, I think, what is most accessible to the public. Our remarkable turnaround in the car industry is the most obvious demonstration of where we have got to, but one of the reasons why such companies come here is precisely because they can operate the most modern systems with absolutely no delay: the just-in-time supply lines and everything else we have heard about. It is no good saying, “That doesn’t matter because they don’t have that anywhere else in the world.” Once you change that, there is absolutely no doubt that you are increasing costs quite substantially compared with the costs we have now; that is absolutely undeniable.

During the referendum, some of us tried to raise the threat to our international trade and inward investment that leaving the EU would involve. I debated with a very good advocate on the leave side, Daniel Hannan, who is a very well-known MEP. It was easy to debate with him because Dan was not advocating leaving the single market. It was quite plain that he was in favour; we have quotes from him saying so—he said a lot about it. It was responded to by some of the leading publicised figures, most notably the recently resigned Foreign Secretary. He dismissed any suggestion that trade would change—the Germans would be persuaded by Mercedes just to leave things completely as they were in an as yet unspecified and undescribed way. Now my right hon. Friend Boris Johnson and his supporters are ignoring, sometimes aggressively and derisively, the advice being given to us by all the major international investors in this country—such as Airbus and Jaguar Land Rover—by the CBI and by the Institute of Directors, which is not the most left-wing organisation I have ever encountered. Apparently, my right hon. Friend understands far more about the attractiveness of this country for future investment in the next generation of aerospace and automobiles which we need to anticipate. Nobody is going to close down a factory overnight if we go in for the daftest arrangements, but they will have to compete with other parts of their group for the next major investments, and the UK will go right down the list because everywhere else in the EU will be able to demonstrate that they are more attractive.

Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk 6:30 pm, 16th July 2018

The key concern for me is that we seem to be separating EU trade and non-EU trade, but is it not the case that so much of our non-EU exports are from foreign-owned businesses that invest in this country for export precisely because of the attraction of the single market and so on?

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons

I agree and that is why I tabled, with my right hon. Friend Anna Soubry, new clause 12 on a customs union. I have taken the view that, while I can see nothing wrong with that amendment, I am prepared to try to get us out of this political chaos by giving the Government White Paper a try. It is attempting to reach precisely the objectives I am arguing for: frictionless trade, with none of these procedures at the border. I cannot see what is wrong with a customs union. If anyone calls a vote on that, I shall abstain. I do not vote against amendments that I plainly agree with and that I have tabled. If a facilitated customs arrangement can be devised which achieves the same, good luck. What is most important is that, now we have the White Paper, we agree with our partners in the EU that we now negotiate on this. We have wasted two years and are facing laughable suggestions that we are going to solve all the problems now in the next three months, or possibly by Christmas if that slips. That is absolutely ludicrous. That is the uncertainty that is racking business and anybody in the country with an interest in our economic future.

Now we have actually got quite a large majority of the Cabinet to agree on this. I never thought the Cabinet we had was ever capable of agreeing on anything on this subject because of the sincerely held, completely opposite views on virtually every aspect of it. We now have most of the Cabinet behind it. If we give them a chance, lots of developments will take place. As compromise takes place, with any luck, people who actually understand the subject will be allowed to try to come up with some workable version of this that achieves the essential objectives.

I am afraid the debate that the public are listening to infuriates them as it is all about personalities. Most sensible members of the public do not have the faintest idea what we are talking about because, throughout the entire debate, no one has ever given a proper explanation to the country of what a customs union or a single market even are and what certificates of origin involve. That is inevitable. We have never debated these things before, but we owe it to the public to have a slightly more sensible debate in future.

Half of the arguments used in the general debate do not understand what a trade agreement is with any other country. As things stand, if we leave with no deal, we will be the only developed country in the world that does not have a trade agreement with any other country, because it is not going to be easy to roll over all the other agreements we have with other countries, which are based on the EU. We have driven the EU to achieve all those agreements. I agree that there are problems with 28 member states negotiating, but the problems with America are far worse. All the Americans want to do is export food to us; they will not open up their public procurement or their service industries.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons

I cannot give way.

Some people want us to give up the hated European rules on animal welfare and food standards and bind ourselves to the lower American rules on food standards. So Congress—Washington—will be telling us what our standards are in those areas in future and we will be excluded from European markets and have to have a hard border with Northern Ireland and with the continent. Anyone listening to some of the opponents of the EU would think that other trade agreements simply let us have all the advantages with no obligations. All trade agreements involve mutual agreements on regulation, standards, health and safety, welfare and all the other relevant things that the parties mutually bind themselves to accept. There is not a country in the world that would accept a trade agreement of the kind that my hon. Friend Mr Rees-Mogg seems to be describing when he warms to the subject.

These are hugely important subjects but, for the past week, we have been debating them in the national debate in the most farcical and chaotic way that I can remember in my political career. The outcome is hugely important. If, one week after the Government set out a policy that I personally was prepared to give a fair wind to, I find that they are going to accept proposals such as amendment 73 and new clause 36, which promptly change that policy in a quite ridiculous way, I shall despair. The Government have only to vote against those new clauses and amendments; I am absolutely certain that the Opposition parties would not be able to think of a sensible reason why they should help my hon. Friend the Member for North East Somerset and others to get a majority in this House. We can demonstrate that they are a tiny handful of people, and their arguments are most certainly not in the national interest.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

I hope that the penny is now dropping among those who inflicted the EU referendum and the subsequent chaos on the country as to precisely what damage this Tory farce is doing to our standing in the world and to our economy. We are two years on, yet no real progress has been made. Tory rivalries, leadership ambitions and factionalism are making this country a laughing stock, and Members on the Tory Benches should be ashamed. I am sorry to say that those on the Labour Front Bench also often contribute to the farce.

I want to speak in favour of accepting new clauses 1 and 12 if they are pushed to a vote, and to speak against new clause 36, which is clearly a wrecking amendment. I hope that, when the Minister responds, he is able to explain why new clause 36 does not drive a coach and horses through the Chequers agreement. Everyone in the House knows that it does, but Ministers appear to be pretending that it does not. I commend Anna Soubry, who is no longer in place, for the anger and passion that she brought to the debate, and for starting to set out the consequences of Brexit. So far, the debate has been rather short on consequences. There has been a lot about aspirations, ambition, ideology and speculation, but rather little about the consequences of Brexit. There are some on the Government Benches who pretend that Brexit will have no impact on the UK economy. Others are more honest, including Sir Bernard Jenkin, who has just left his place—

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

I am sorry—the hon. Gentleman is present. He was more honest. I hope that he does not feel that I am misinterpreting him, but I listened carefully to him, as I hope others did, when he spoke on the “Today” programme on Radio 4 this morning, and I think that what he was doing, perhaps paraphrasing our outgoing Foreign Secretary, was to say, “F*** business”. He was saying that all businesses care about are profits, but I think they care about whether they are able to do the job they are required to do and provide the jobs in this country.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee)

Unlike probably the vast majority of hon. and right hon. Members, I actually used to work in manufacturing industry. I worked for the Ford motor company, and I also used to invest in manufacturing businesses. It really is a bit rich when people who know next to nothing about manufacturing lecture those of us who have been in business on the things we know about. Does the right hon. Gentleman dismiss the views of people such as Sir James Dyson and J. C. Bamford and the many other manufacturers who wanted to leave the European Union when we had the referendum?

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

The hon. Gentleman might be surprised to hear that I also worked in business before I came into Parliament. I worked for manufacturing businesses, among others. He mentions the two businesses which he in fact can mention because they are in favour of coming out of the European Union. We have heard rather a lot about those two businesses. One has of course relocated most of its production to China, so I am not sure it is particularly well positioned to talk about these things—

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

Malaysia, not China.

I also want to talk about new clauses 7, 8 and 9. New clause 7 simply tries to ensure that the Government are required to do what everyone in the House wants them to do—namely, set out the impact on business of their customs arrangements proposals. They have ducked and dived on impact assessments, and they have been embarrassed when assessments have been leaked. They have done everything they can to prevent that information from getting into the public domain. New clause 7 would ensure that, six months after the Bill gets Royal Assent, the Government have to set out precisely the impact of their proposals on the UK economy. New clause 8 would require them to set out precisely the impact on the Northern Ireland-Ireland border—there are still concerns about that question—and new clause 37 quite deliberately seeks to do away with any prospect of a withdrawal agreement. No one—not the political parties here or in Northern Ireland and certainly not the Irish Government—wants to see a border in the Irish Sea, but the purpose of new clause 37 seems to be to destroy the space in which discussions on the backstop arrangements can take place.

New clause 9 and amendment 10 are simply about taking back control. We have heard a lot about parliamentary sovereignty and ensuring that Parliament has its say. Well, the purpose of new clause 9 and amendment 10 is to ensure that the Government do not railroad measures through this House using statutory instruments or tertiary legislation such as public notices simply because it is convenient for them to do so and to avoid the scrutiny that Parliament is entitled to exercise.

I am well within my time limit, but I conclude by saying that I am pleased that we are at least starting to discuss the real consequences of Brexit for business. I hope that new clauses 1 and 12 will be pressed to a vote later. We need to get into some real debate about what we can do to ensure that the successful manufacturers in this country are able to continue to operate as they wish, and those new clauses would allow that to happen.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham 6:45 pm, 16th July 2018

I rise to speak to new clause 36, tabled in my name and those of other hon. and right hon. Members. I want to be clear that a strong deal that delivers a new equal partnership between the UK and the EU based on co-operation to advance mutual interests while respecting the sovereignty of this country is of course in everyone’s interests. This is also a golden opportunity for our country to become a free and independent nation, setting up its own laws and in control of its own destiny. I do not think that anyone in this House would disagree with that. We understand that the Government are engaged in the negotiating process, and that all negotiations require a degree of give and take. There are of course certain red lines that cannot be crossed, as is being made clear in the debates that we are having right now and in the proposals that we are taking to the European Union.

New clause 36 cements into legislation the principle of reciprocity. It is clear and unambiguous. It was disappointing to see that the White Paper did not commit to that principle. The proposal in the White Paper does not deliver an equal partnership. It delivers one that does not put us on a level playing field. Because it states that

“the EU would need to be confident that goods cannot enter its customs territory without the correct tariff and trade policy being applied”, we would effectively adopt much of that policy and collect tariffs on behalf of the EU.

However, the White Paper then states that

“the UK is not proposing that the EU applies the UK’s tariffs and trade policy at its border for goods intended for the UK.”

We are therefore being asked to pass legislation that would mean that while the Government can agree with the EU to collect taxes for it and provide assurances about goods entering the UK that are heading to the EU, we would not expect the same arrangements to be provided by the EU in return. Why are we planning to give the EU assurances and confidence that we do not expect in return?

Photo of Paul Masterton Paul Masterton Conservative, East Renfrewshire

Will my right hon. Friend confirm whether it is her view that new clause 36 conflicts or is in line with Government policy, as per the White Paper published last week?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

I just made the point that it was disappointing that the principle of reciprocity was not in the White Paper. My hon. Friend has already heard me say that I want an equal partnership, but what has been proposed is not equal. It is yet another compromise with nothing in return.

The Government have the chance to address that by backing new clause 36. The EU would then know that it cannot attempt to steamroller the Government on this issue in the negotiations and that if it wants to benefit from the UK collecting its tariffs, it needs to adopt a similar reciprocal arrangement.

Thus far, the Government have negotiated in good faith with the EU. We have been open, transparent and have already made many compromises and concessions, which is only right and fair. Within a week of taking office, the Prime Minister gave up our turn to the hold the EU presidency in the second half of 2017 as a gesture of goodwill. We offered a guarantee on citizens’ rights as early as possible, but the EU would not accept it. We have offered £40 billion of British taxpayers’ money, yet the trade deal that would benefit this country and the EU has been blocked by EU officials, who are, quite frankly, not engaging with us.

As we progress to the next stage of the negotiations on the future of the UK-EU relationship, Britain needs to be an equal partner with the EU, not its tax collector. New clause 36 would ensure that genuine reciprocal arrangements are established and would put it into law that the UK will not be part of an EU VAT regime and that Northern Ireland will be treated the same as the rest of the UK. We propose putting into law as a safeguard what the Government have said they want.

The public want to know that their political leaders will stay true to the promise made to them that Brexit means Brexit and that we are putting plans in place for our nation’s economic and political renewal. That means that the Government need to have the desire to modify their proposals and listen to the public.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South

It is a great privilege to follow Priti Patel. We sit on the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs together and agree on much of its work. However, I am afraid that we agree on nothing when it comes to Brexit, and we have those battles on the Committee.

It is unfortunate that we have been left here this evening with a set of four amendments from the group of Conservative rebels who want to take us off a cliff edge. That is what the amendments are designed to do. We have unconfirmed reports that the Government may accept the amendments. I do not know whether the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will nod to indicate that he will accept them, but if he does, I hope he has a match or a lighter in his pocket, because he would do just as well to set the Chequers agreement alight, given the consequences.

On top of all that, the former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Mr Davis, must now regret leaving the Government, given that after threatening to resign five times, he finally went through with it by resigning following the Chequers agreement, which is just about to be ripped up by his own Front-Bench team and replaced with a much more hard-line position that will take us off the cliff with a hard Brexit. If he had only stayed on a few more days, he may have been able to see through the proposals that he started.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South

I am happy to give way to the right hon. Gentleman, given that I mentioned him.

Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

I rise just to tell the hon. Gentleman that nearly everything he just said in that sentence is untrue.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South

I am delighted to hear that he would have resigned regardless, but he must surely have some regret. Perhaps we should be glad that he resigned, given that he stood up in this Chamber, as a former Secretary of State, and tried to persuade the House that Operation Stack and having trucks and lorries queued up at our ports was positive for the country. I have never known a former Secretary of State to look at something like Operation Stack, which would be a tragedy for our economy had it continued for much longer, and turn it into a positive. If that is the kind of argument he is offering to this House and to the country, we should ensure that we vote down most of these amendments.

I find it extraordinary that after going through this process—these debates give me déjà vu—we are still hearing arguments about the customs union and the single market. The Government managed to botch together what is now called the Chequers agreement and now, a week away from this Parliament adjourning for the summer recess, they have completely torn it apart by again pandering, as Mr Clarke said, to 30 or 40 people on the hard right of the Conservative party. Those people would be being much more honest if they just stood up and said that they want the cliff-edge hard Brexit, rather than tabling amendments that drive a coach and horses through the agreement that the Government managed to reach.

Photo of Craig Mackinlay Craig Mackinlay Conservative, South Thanet

Is the hon. Gentleman really suggesting that the 163 independent members of the WTO are somehow teetering on a cliff edge or doing something rather odd? Are they not just normal trading nations that trade freely with each other? I find his “cliff edge” statement rather peculiar, because it does not treat the facts.

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South

I will tell the hon. Gentleman who is teetering on the cliff edge: the 10,000 or 12,000 people in my constituency who work in the financial services sector. The advice and analysis that we have had from the hon. Gentleman’s own Government’s Treasury is that staying in the customs union and the single market is the least worst option, and that the WTO route that he suggests would leave this country teetering on the edge of a GDP reduction of somewhere between 9% and 16%, depending on the part of the country. If that is a positive argument for taking us out of the EU, the country needs to be given a people’s vote on whether we are going down the right track.

Anna Soubry moved new clause 1. She did not really mention new clause 12, but it presents a customs union option that could provide a platform to unite the vast majority of this House. When the Division bell rings for the votes on new clause 36 and amendment 73, I agree with the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe that we should all go into the Lobby against them to show how many people in this House actually want to protect this country’s future prosperity and how many want to take away any future prosperity for their own narrow ideological needs. I say to my own Front-Bench team that when the Division bell rings I hope Labour votes against those amendments and makes a stand against what the hard-line right-wing Brexiteers are trying to do to our country.

There is absolutely no way we can achieve frictionless trade—what the Government want us to try to achieve—while putting in place policies that set hurdles in front of it. The amendments would mean no VAT alignment, but if there is no VAT alignment, there is no backstop. If there is no backstop, there is no withdrawal agreement. If there is no withdrawal agreement, we have to have a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. If that is the aspiration behind some of these amendments, we will in the future have to take a long hard look back at this point, when we are about to inflict the single largest act of self-harm to this country, to see what people were actually trying to achieve. The right hon. Member for Broxtowe’s introductory remarks on new clause 1 sum that situation up. She was attacked with pretty disgraceful remarks from some in her own party, but she was merely trying to put forward an argument that would prevent this country from doing economic damage to itself. What a remarkable thing to happen.

We have two Bills in front of us this week—tonight’s Bill and the Trade Bill tomorrow—and all the Government have to do is keep the customs union and the single market on the negotiating table. New clause 12 does not mean that the Government have to implement anything; it just asks them to keep the proposal on the table. That is what would be in this country’s best interests. I agree with the right hon. Member for Broxtowe that this Minister is one of the best in the Government. I disagree with the vast majority of things that he does, but he is courteous, intelligent and always answers questions in the best way possible. He cannot honestly be sitting there this evening ready to accept the four amendments thinking that that would be in the best interests not only of the country, but of the Chequers agreement that the Prime Minister managed to cobble together last Friday. We need Government Front Benchers with a bit of backbone to stand up for the interests of this country. By the time we go into the Division Lobby very late on Tuesday night to pass the Trade Bill—after the customs Bill before us has been passed—Government Front Benchers could then say that they have stood up to the hard right of this country and stopped economic Armageddon, and that they have done the right thing.

Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury 7:00 pm, 16th July 2018

I rise to speak to new clause 37, which is in my name and those of my hon and right hon. Friends. I will press the new clause at the appropriate time. It would make it

“unlawful for Her Majesty’s Government to enter into arrangements under which Northern Ireland forms part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain.”

The purpose is simple: it is to secure the future of the United Kingdom. I speak as a proud Unionist and a friend of Northern Ireland. I have had the honour of working closely with people across Northern Ireland, having been Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee for seven years and, before that, a shadow Northern Ireland Minister for five years. Interestingly, I also co-chaired the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly for some five years. We have a lot to fight for in Northern Ireland.

This new clause would provide a guarantee that shows we value the Union and recognise the importance of strengthening it, but also acknowledge the importance and the value of our most important trading arrangement, the UK internal market. Above all, it would contribute to upholding the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom and safeguard the Union for the future.

New clause 37 reinforces a view that I am confident is shared on both sides of the House, which is that we cannot accept a deal that would allow Northern Ireland to be considered a separate customs territory from Great Britain. I recognise that this is the view the Prime Minister has put at the forefront of our negotiations.

Photo of Ian Paisley Jnr Ian Paisley Jnr Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)

Will the hon. Gentleman reiterate the point that new clause 37 simply underlines and reaffirms what the Prime Minister has said from the Dispatch Box on four separate occasions? The hon. Gentleman is right to seek to nail this into the Bill because we might not always have the luxury of having a Unionist Prime Minister.

Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

Of course I completely agree with the hon. Gentleman, although I hope we always do have a Unionist Prime Minister. Many of us will be working towards that end for many, many years.

The Prime Minister said in December

“the whole of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, will leave the EU customs union and the EU single market. Nothing in the agreement I have reached alters that fundamental fact.”—[Official Report, 11 December 2017;
Vol. 633, c. 27.]

If nothing has changed, I am confident—and I understand it is the case—that the Government will support this amendment.

During the past two years, we have had many polarising debates on our withdrawal from the European Union, but this amendment is straightforward and should be supported by anyone who values and believes in the Union. This is not a matter of leave or remain; it is about protecting the Union and ensuring that any deal we secure with the European Union upholds the constitutional integrity of the UK.

As well as protecting Northern Ireland’s constitutional position in the UK, new clause 37 is also about protecting the economy of Northern Ireland by securing our most important single market, the UK itself. There are no absolute figures, but estimates from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency suggest that external sales of goods and services between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK were worth £14 billion in 2016, which represents approximately 58% of Northern Ireland’s total external sales. To jeopardise that by subjecting Northern Ireland to extra border arrangements, effectively down the Irish sea, would be foolish.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister rightly rejected the European Commission’s proposed version of the backstop, which would have treated Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the United Kingdom. As the Prime Minister has said a number of times, no UK Prime Minister could ever agree to it. I understand that is still the Government’s view.

New clause 37 does not look to tie the Government’s hands. Rather, it will galvanise the Government’s position on this issue and signal to the people of Northern Ireland that they will not be left behind or left out. The Irish border is being used as a red herring by the European Union. As the Prime Minister has agreed on a number of occasions, we cannot know what arrangements, if any, will be needed on the border until we know the details of any deal with the European Union. To think the opposite of that is to put the cart before the horse.

Her Majesty’s Government, the Irish Government and politicians of all colours in Northern Ireland have said that they do not want to see a hard border in Ireland. When we say “hard border,” we are not talking about troops being stationed along the border—that is not going to happen. Nor will whatever arrangements we reach with the EU provoke violence along the border—those years have surely gone.

What will happen, though, is what has been happening for a very long time. The two jurisdictions already have different laws, different currencies, different VAT rates, different levels of corporation tax, different fuel duties, different levels of tourism tax and different levels of air passenger duty, yet trade takes place. People cross the border each day, with some people crossing several times a day. Some checks are carried out at various places in the north and south, which is how it will continue to be, without the disruption to trade and to everyday life that some people predict.

There is, therefore, no need for discussions about the border in Ireland to hold up the wider trade talks with the European Union, nor is there any need to threaten Northern Ireland’s position within the UK or Northern Ireland’s economy during these talks. New clause 37 will ensure that will not be the case.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that the backstop proposals for Northern Ireland are something no Prime Minister of the United Kingdom could ever agree to, and this new clause will enshrine that policy in law.

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Co-Leader of the Green Party

I support all those who have been arguing for continued membership of the customs union, and therefore I support new clause 1. It is clear from everything we have heard today that, if we are to avoid serious economic hardship, membership of the customs union is essential. Frankly, the wrecking ball that the hard Brexiteers would bring to British business and industry is pretty extraordinary, and all for what?

The Prime Minister had it pretty much right when she spelled out:

“We export more to Ireland than we do to China, almost twice as much to Belgium as we do to India, and nearly 3 times as much to Sweden as we do to Brazil. It is not realistic to think we could just replace European trade with these new markets.”

She said that in April 2016, and I contend, as the Prime Minister herself is fond of saying, that nothing has changed.

In the brief time available to me, I will raise the issue of standards, particularly in relation to my amendment 71. Clause 8 sets out factors to which the Treasury must have regard when considering the rate of import duties that apply to goods. Those factors include the interests of UK consumers, and the desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity and external trade.

Amendment 71 would add to those factors. First, it would add the interests of UK producers, particularly farmers. Secondly, it would add the desirability of ensuring that UK standards of animal welfare, food safety and environmental protection are not undermined by imports produced to lower standards.

The Prime Minister said at Prime Minister’s questions in February 2017, and many times since:

“We should be proud that in the UK we have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world—indeed, one of the highest scores for animal protection in the world. Leaving the EU will not change that…we are committed to maintaining and, where possible, improving standards”.—[Official Report, 8 February 2017;
Vol. 621, c. 424.]

Similarly, we have heard the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs say on many occasions that we need to maintain, and where possible enhance, environmental and animal welfare standards. However, if the UK is unable to protect its farmers from being undermined by lower-quality imports, those farmers are likely to find it hard to be competitive and to go further on improving their animal welfare and environmental standards. Accordingly, when negotiating new trade agreements, it will be vital that the UK insists on the inclusion of a clause permitting it to require imports to meet UK animal welfare and environmental standards. I have tabled an amendment to the Trade Bill to that effect.

If that were not to happen and we were to lose the principle of prohibiting products that do not meet our standards, we would need some kind of backstop, which is where amendment 71 comes in. It would give Ministers the power to place differential tariffs on imports. Imports that do not conform to UK welfare standards would be subject to tariffs high enough to safeguard UK farmers. It would ensure that UK farm businesses were not undermined by low-quality products, and that UK consumers would be protected from goods of a lower standard—chlorine-washed chicken, ractopamine-fed pork and hormone-treated beef, to name but a few—through tariffs on imports that do not meet UK standards. These tariffs would effectively make the cost of these lower-welfare products an awful lot higher to protect our standards here in the UK.

Photo of Marcus Fysh Marcus Fysh Conservative, Yeovil

The hon. Lady makes an important point about the value of trade defences in our armoury. Would she consider supporting new clause 36, which is essential if the UK is to be able to operate its own trade defence policy, because if the EU is not collecting our tariffs for us at our border, there will potentially be nothing we can do about that?

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Co-Leader of the Green Party

I am afraid that I do not share the hon. Gentleman’s faith in our own Government continuing to keep higher standards. We have already heard clear criticisms of new clause 36 for many other reasons, including the way in which it drives a coach and horses through the kind of customs union that we want, so I will not be supporting new clause 36.

I was going on to give examples of ways in which food standards in the US are much lower than our own. Many may find the prospect of eating chlorine-washed chicken disturbing. Although there appears to be no clear scientific evidence that it poses a substantial risk to human health, it is linked to poor animal welfare on farms and at slaughter. Similarly, ractopamine is a feed additive used to promote growth in pigs, and its use is permitted in the United States, but prohibited in the EU. There is evidence that it has a detrimental impact on pig welfare, with the Humane Society of the United States stating that it

“causes death, lameness, stiffness, trembling and shortness of breath in farm animals”.

Concerns have been expressed about its impact on human health as well.

My amendment 71 would simply require the Treasury, when considering the rate of import duty that ought to apply to any goods, to have regard to the interests of UK producers, such as farmers, and to the desirability of ensuring that UK standards of animal welfare, food safety and environmental protection are not undermined by imports produced to lower standards. I will wrap up my comments about it there.

I am supporting a number of other measures, including that on dealing with impact assessments, which are vital when we talk about impacts on the economic situation in this country and on the Northern Ireland border. However, I just thought that it was important to put something on record in this debate about the impact on animal welfare and environmental standards, too.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham

Let me start by saying that I agree with my right hon. Friend Mr Davis that the Bills we are considering today and tomorrow are vital pieces of legislation. I rise to speak against new clauses 1 and 12, which stand in the name of my right hon. Friend Anna Soubry; new clause 6, which stands in the name of Yvette Cooper; and new clause 11, which stands in the name of the Leader of the Opposition.

I speak as someone who voted remain in June 2016. However, having had time to study these matters at close hand, and having an objective, pragmatic and reasonable approach—I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe that being objective and pragmatic is vital—I believe that it would be a grave error to enter into a customs union with the EU while being outside the EU. I shall give five reasons why I believe that to be the case.

Much of the debate has focused on narrow considerations about how a border works. Important though that is, there is much more to a customs union than simply the operation of a border or set of borders, and it is very important to bring that into this debate. Before anyone proposes going down the route of entering into a customs union with the EU, we should ask whether anyone currently does that. Turkey does; it is not in the customs union for everything or a customs union for everything, but it is for most goods, with the exception of agricultural goods. The Turkish example is very instructive. Some 23 years ago, when Turkey joined this customs union, its direction of travel was the entire opposite of ours. Turkey was looking to enter the EU and saw joining a customs union, with all its disadvantages and imperfections, as a staging post to joining the EU. We are operating in the opposite direction. What happens when a country is in a customs union with somebody and it goes into a trade agreement? Well, Turkey must give access to its markets under that trade agreement, because it has signed up to the common external tariff. However, because Turkey is not subject to that trade agreement, as that agreement is with the EU—

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham

I am going to carry on and explore this point. Because Turkey is not subject to that agreement, as it is not a member of the European Union, Turkey must negotiate its own trade agreement with counterparts. It is not obliged to do so, and various counterparts have agreed a trade agreement with the EU but not agreed one with Turkey.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham

No, I am not giving way as I am going to explore my points in the available time.

The lesson here is that these partners will be less likely, in many ways, to do a deal with such an economy, and ours is the fifth largest economy in the world. If they can get access to that economy through a trade agreement with the EU such that Britain would be forced to lower its tariffs, the people they might want to speak to are more likely to be in Brussels than in London.

My second reason relates to the pursuit of an independent trade policy and trade agreements. If we are no longer setting our own tariffs and they are set by somebody else, that weakens our ability to have a trade negotiation and to come to a trade agreement—by definition, we have a lot less to offer.

Remarkably, the third area—trade remedies—has not been explored at all tonight. I am amazed that the Labour party wants us to join—I am not sure what the official Front-Bench view is, but I think it is this—a customs union with the EU. Who would do our trade defences? Trade defences are incredibly important; they are the topic de jour in the current disputes between the United States, China and other counterparts. If we were in a customs union, it would be likely that Brussels would be making the decisions on trade remedies that would apply to the UK. We would not have a seat at that table when those decisions, which would affect our industry, were being made. Moreover, it would be likely to be against WTO rules for Brussels to make decisions that might affect the UK, because under WTO rules, people have to show the impact on their own market, not somebody else’s. So it is not at all clear to me—

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham

I am going to use my three remaining minutes.

The fourth area—again, it is remarkable that Labour is ignoring this—is the potential regulation of the NHS and other public services. I think that Labour Members have forgotten the TTIP debates of four or five years ago. They got very agitated about TTIP and the prospect of granting access to the NHS and other key public services in this country via a EU trade agreement. Now they seem to be happy for the EU, through a customs union, to negotiate potential access to the NHS and our markets. Even worse, we would not have a seat at the table when that trade agreement was set up. I find it remarkable that the Labour party is prepared to do that.

My final point has also not been raised in this debate, but it is a vital aspect of the Bill: trade preferences for the developing world. Again, I think that there is cross-party support for this country doing more and better in this area. The Bill allows for the transition of the scheme of trade preferences, meaning that the UK will have its own scheme of trade preferences. It will transfer overnight the European Union GSP—generalised scheme of preferences—and GSP+ and include everything but arms. Crucially, there will be the ability to improve on that scheme. If we stay in a customs union with the European Union, we will strangle in its infancy that ability to do better than the European Union on trade preferences.

The trade Ministers to whom I have spoken in the Governments of countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh—they are all really important markets for this country and really important friends—would welcome the UK having the ability to offer better access for their goods than the European Union currently does. I am not saying that we will make a policy decision today, but it is extremely important that the Bill contains the ability for us to do that, and it is an underrated aspect of the legislation. Whatever we think of the access currently offered by the European Union, I do not think that anybody would say that the UK would be unable to offer better access if we had our own preference scheme under the Bill. That has been neglected in this debate.

Whatever we think of the original decision in June 2016, it would be a grave error to enter into a customs union with the European Union. It is not just a question of formalities and practicalities at the border; there many other really important issues, such as trade remedies and trade preferences with the developing world, that make entering a customs union with the European Union a very bad idea. I very much support the Bill and urge the House to reject the new clauses.

Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons)

I apologise for the fact that I had to attend a Statutory Instrument Committee, but I was present at the beginning and I am here now. It is a pleasure to follow Greg Hands, who brought us back to the detail of the Bill, which is where I wish to focus my remarks.

I was concerned that the proposed dumping methodology might not address the UK steel industry’s concerns, so I am pleased that Jeremy Lefroy has tabled amendment 25. I am also pleased that the Government have engaged with Members from all parties, and that last week, in response to a written parliamentary question from Mr Clarke, they underlined their commitment to

“protecting UK industry where it is suffering injury as a result of dumped imports.”

The Government went on to say that they would not allow that to happen and would use mechanisms for the calculation of dumping methods that, on the face of it, seem to have the support of industries such as steel and ceramics. I very much welcome the fact that the Government have listened and have worked with key industries during the Bill’s progress through Parliament.

I am less convinced by the situation in relation to the economic interest test. I was rather hoping that, in line with the rhetoric that we heard throughout the whole argument for leaving the European Union, we would take advantage of the opportunity that leaving the European Union offered to reduce any bureaucratic pressure on industries such as steel, rather than adding to their bureaucratic pressures. The economic interest test in the Bill adds extra layers compared with what currently exists in the European Union, so we have the genius of a Government bringing forward something even more complex than what we already have in the European Union. I did not think that was the purpose of what we were doing; perhaps I was naive.

In Committee, we expressed concerns about the proliferation of economic interest tests that have been built into the regime and that measures must pass before tariffs can be introduced. Of particular concern was the fact that such tests will first be conducted by the independent Trade Remedies Authority and then again by the Secretary of State, theoretically on a completely different basis. As such, we have pushed for the Secretary of State’s power in relation to the tests to be curtailed and at most to act as a sense-check on what the TRA has conducted. Anything more than that will introduce an unacceptable level of potentially political interference into the process. It will be an unnecessary block on what is happening. The real worry is that it will delay the introduction of trade remedies and thereby potentially subject industry to more damage. However, the Government have tabled amendments 103 and 108, which go some way towards addressing the concerns I have just outlined.

Government amendments 110 to 112 and 116 to 118 seek to deal with the replication of tests, but they would not do that sufficiently well, so I shall support amendment 21, tabled in the name of the Leader of the Opposition, which would achieve a better outcome.

Finally, let me say a little about safeguard measures and adjustment plans. I am concerned that the Government intend to require any industry that requests safeguard measures to submit adjustment plans to demonstrate how it will adjust to new market circumstances, before any safeguard investigation can be launched. In essence, that would require an industry to demonstrate what changes it was making to its operations, including efficiencies and rationalisations, before a safeguard investigation could even start. UK Steel and others have pointed out that in situations such as those we currently face in relation to US section 232 tariffs, such a requirement would be unjustified. Industry should not have to make major adjustments to deal with what is likely to be a temporary situation introduced by the non-WTO-compliant actions of another Government. I am, therefore, pleased that the Government have tabled amendment 113 to modify the requirement, allowing the TRA to waive the requirement when it deems it necessary or suitable. It would, though, be better if that pressure on industry—at a point at which it is already under significant pressure—were not there.

I wanted to put those concerns on the record so that the Government have the opportunity to make further improvements to the Bill as it makes progress in the other place and before it comes back to this House.

Photo of Craig Mackinlay Craig Mackinlay Conservative, South Thanet

I rise to speak to amendment 73, tabled in my name and the names of my right hon. and hon. Friends, and which I wish to move at the appropriate time.

It now has to be a settled will that in future we are not going to be in the, or a, customs union with the European Union. That became clear during the hours of debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in this place and the other place, and that Bill became an Act. It is clear in the Chequers deal and the White Paper on the future relationship. The statement “We will not be in the customs union” has passed through the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House and Mansion House speeches, and through her statements on the Floor of the House on occasions far too numerous to mention.

We are not to be in a customs union. That was clearly the compact with the public made by the Conservatives and the Labour party in their manifestos last year. It is clearly the will of the people, as expressed in the June 2016 referendum. I do not think there can be any doubt as to the clarity, because it was mentioned by all involved in that debate, no matter what side they supported. It is clearly the will of the people, of the Prime Minister and of the Cabinet. Similarly, when we negotiated and passed the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, it was the will expressed by a majority of this place.

My hon. Friend Mr Rees-Mogg said earlier in an intervention that, were it necessary for there to be a customs union with some part of the world, there would need to be, at the right time, primary legislation that would also incorporate any requirements in the Government’s proposed new section 16A, which I am trying to nullify with amendment 73. I certainly hope that, given those settled wills, my amendment will be supported by the Government because anything else does not square with the manifesto on which we were elected and it certainly does not square with the manifesto on which the Labour party was elected either.

We must examine this question: why on earth, under any circumstance—putting customs union aside—would we want to stay in the arrangements for the administration of VAT that the EU has? It is quite odd. It actually encourages buying from the EU in preference to buying from domestic markets. Let me put that into context.

Let us say an imaginary widget sells for £100 in the UK from a UK supplier, £100 from an EU supplier, and £100 from a US supplier. In the case of the purchase from a UK supplier, depending on the trade terms—one might have to pay within 30 days and there is a three-monthly VAT cycle—one would have to have a cash flow of £120 to buy it. Some months later, depending on the timing of one’s VAT return, one would get the £20 back. If one were to buy from a US trader, one would have to pay the £20 input VAT upfront as it crossed the border. But in the case of buying from an EU supplier, an imaginary VAT on the acquisition is created—one self-charges and there is an output later when it is sold in the UK. However, the cash flow is to spend only £100 with the EU supplier. Therefore, by being in the EU VAT system, we have created, perversely, a requirement, almost a push, towards competition that favours buying from abroad.

I really hope that Labour Members take this next point on board this evening. If we were to adopt the VAT directives in perpetuity—it seems that, now, many Labour Members would like us to adopt as part of our staying in the customs union—I really wonder how, following their campaign against the tampon tax, the hon. Members for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy), for Dewsbury (Paula Sherriff) and for Birmingham, Yardley (Jess Phillips)—I did alert them to the fact that I would mention them this evening—would stand up in public and say, “Oh, by the way, I have abandoned that idea.” I took part in that debate in this House and the proposal was supported across the Chamber. Are Labour Members really going to say to the electorate, “I am sorry, but that has all gone now, because we are actually in favour of customs union and of staying in the VAT directives” which are the reason why, in all of these years of EU membership, we have been unable to do anything about these hated taxes?

I would extend that to things such as solar panels and insulation products. Would any rational person in this House put VAT on solar panels and insulation products? I do not think that they would, but we have to do it because the EU requires it. Would we not rather like to reduce VAT on domestic heating and fuel? I think we would generally—

Photo of Craig Mackinlay Craig Mackinlay Conservative, South Thanet

I will; I would enjoy continuing my speech so please intervene.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

Did the hon. Gentleman notice that, in March 2016, the European Union agreed, on the so-called tampon tax issue, to allow zero-rating? Therefore, the point that he made is completely debunked.

Photo of Craig Mackinlay Craig Mackinlay Conservative, South Thanet

I am sorry, but that must have passed me by. I know that, to get around the difficulties that were caused by the tampon tax and the significant debate that we had in this Chamber, of which I was a part, the Government agreed to sort of equal the amount that was collected to pass it to charity. So it seems bizarre that we have not taken the steps that are available.

The other thing about going along with the VAT directives and how VAT is managed is that we have been subject to the missing trader intra-community fraud, the so-called carousel fraud, which cost this country £1.7 billion last year. It is estimated to cost the EU as a whole into the tens of billions of pounds. Over the period of the administration of VAT in its current form, it could have cost anything up to £100 billion across the EU. Are we really saying that these failed systems are something that we want to be attached to in perpetuity?

The Prime Minister has said very clearly that we will be in control of our tax policy. Just last week, following Chequers, the Secretary of State for the Environment also confirmed that we cannot actually set our own taxes as we would wish to at the moment because VAT is set in accordance with EU rules. That is another area in which we will be sovereign. Amendment 73 would make sure that, no matter what the future holds, primary legislation will be needed to do this. We cannot have the vestiges of some of the worst VAT rules that anybody could ever imagine remaining on our statute book. For that reason and given that powerful debate on the tampon tax, I certainly hope that others across this House will support that amendment this evening.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

When we had the referendum result, and given the bitterness that existed during the referendum, I had absolutely no doubt that, despite the overwhelming vote, we were going to see guerrilla warfare conducted against the will of the people of the United Kingdom. We have seen it over the past year and a half—fall-outs in this place and fall-outs in TV studios, newspapers and so on. The amendments to this Bill fall into one of those two categories. People will give a whole variety of reasons, but, basically, they want to move amendments to this Bill to keep us in the institutions of the EU, which has bound us for so many years, and from which people voted to be free. On the other side, there are those who wish to remain true to the vote of the people and make sure that everything is done to deliver on the promises that were made during the referendum.

Unfortunately, Northern Ireland, which has featured in nearly every speech here tonight, has been caught in the crossfire of that guerrilla warfare between those who wish to keep us in the EU and those who wish to honour the result of the referendum. The Northern Ireland border, the Good Friday agreement and the peace in Northern Ireland have been thrown around willy-nilly. To be quite frank, the people of Northern Ireland feel abused in this whole process. I have heard people in this place talk about the Belfast agreement as if it were their bedtime reading. They probably do not even know what the document looks like.

It has been suggested that if we do not abide by those who wish to keep us in the customs union and the single market, we will have a hard border in Northern Ireland, which will affect the peace. I do not know what this hard border will look like, but I can tell Members one thing: if they think that a couple of border posts along the main road at Newry, the main road into Londonderry and the main road into Enniskillen will represent a hard border that will somehow protect the EU from the incursion of goods that they do not want, then they do not even understand what it means. It could be that they think that a hard border means a minefield around the border with watchtowers so that no lorries can sneak across the 300 or so roads, or that people cannot build sheds in the middle of field where they put goods in one side in Northern Ireland and they come out the other side in the Irish Republic. It is a ridiculous suggestion, and yet it is thrown at us all the time.

We heard Anna Soubry talk about the impact on the border and that the World Trade Organisation would insist on the provisions because it would have to protect trade. The Irish Republic currently brings in goods from the rest of the world. Does it stop every container that comes in? No, it does not. Does it stop 10% of the containers? No, it does not. It does not even stop 1%. In fact, Gambia stops more trade coming through its borders than the Irish Republic stops. The idea that, somehow or other, every good that comes into the EU via Northern Ireland and then the Republic will have to be stopped does not even match with common-day practice.

When it comes to collecting taxes, 13,000 lorries a year cross the border carrying drink to other parts of the United Kingdom. There is duty to be collected on that, but not one of them is stopped because the duty is collected electronically through pre-notification and trusted trader status. We can protect the border and meet WTO rules without having all the kinds of paraphernalia suggested here tonight.

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Labour, Vauxhall

The right hon. Gentleman is quite right; there seem to be an awful lot of people who do not really understand what goes on at the border now. Why would anyone who supports Northern Ireland even think of voting against new clause 37 tonight? The new clause clearly puts it out there that we want Northern Ireland to be treated the same way as the rest of the United Kingdom, so in voting against it, people would actually be supporting the Republic of Ireland.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

That is the whole point of new clause 37. First, it would deliver on the promises made by the Government; it puts those promises into law. Secondly, it would avoid the break-up of the United Kingdom, and the kind of nonsense that we are going to hear from the Scottish National party—that we can redefine the United Kingdom to exclude Northern Ireland when it comes to trade issues. Of course, that would be against the Belfast agreement, because the Belfast agreement does not actually say a great deal about borders, but it says a lot about the integrity of the United Kingdom—that it cannot be changed by diktat from the EU or by demands from Dublin. It can only be changed with the will of the people of Northern Ireland. Yet, the suggested backstop arrangement is at the behest of the EU, which seems to disregard the most important part of the Belfast agreement and has destabilised Northern Ireland as a result.

Photo of Karin Smyth Karin Smyth Labour, Bristol South

The right hon. Gentleman is of course right that the constitutional status of Northern Ireland has not been in dispute for a very long time and is underlined by the Belfast/Good Friday agreement. People have only started talking about the constitutional arrangements in Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit. That is the only thing that has now started to trigger any discussion around the break-up of the United Kingdom, and I am afraid that his party has helped that process.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

That is the point that I am making—that this red herring has been thrown into the debate to try to persuade people like me and Members on the Government Benches to stay within the customs union and the single market. It is a red herring because, as I have said, it is not essential to have a hard border in order to protect trade between the United Kingdom outside the EU and the Irish Republic inside the EU. Other methods are currently used. We have a fiscal border, a regulatory border and a currency border. We do not need checks at the moment, so why would that change once we leave the EU?

The third thing about new clause 37 is that it would actually strengthen the Prime Minister’s hand. When she goes into negotiations, Barnier and Co. will still be badgering her and insisting that there has to be a different regime of regulation, law and EU interference in Northern Ireland. It will strengthen the Prime Minister’s hand to be able to say that the Parliament of the United Kingdom has said in law, “We will not and cannot change the status of Northern Ireland. We cannot have separate customs arrangements for Northern Ireland and the law says that.”

New clause 37 would also protect Northern Ireland from being cut off from its biggest market. The Irish Republic is not our biggest market. The whole of the EU is not our biggest market. Over 60% of the produce of Northern Ireland comes to Great Britain. Ironically, if the Government in Dublin were thinking with their head, they would recognise that the Barnier formula for the border is also detrimental to the Irish Republic, because it would mean having a border down the Irish sea, cutting the Irish Republic off from its biggest market. Over 50% of its agricultural products come here, yet it is concerned about the paltry border that counts for 1.6% of its trade. People just fail to understand why this should be the case and why the Government of the Republic should take that view.

The Prime Minister has an opportunity. New clause 37 would strengthen her hand in the negotiations coming up to October. She still has the opportunity to tell the EU, “If you want our money, give us a fair deal. We’ll prepare for a no deal if we can’t get a good deal. The balance of trade rests with us. If you want access to our markets, make sure that we get access to your markets.” That should be the approach. Get the handbag out, do a bit of swinging and get a good deal.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee) 7:45 pm, 16th July 2018

I am very pleased to follow Sammy Wilson, who has put on the record a great deal of fact and truth about the way in which the Northern Ireland issue has been treated in the negotiations and by the negotiating parties. What he missed out in his remarks was that this was not an issue until the Varadkar Government were elected. The expectation was that there would be an invisible customs frontier in Northern Ireland. That was confirmed by Bertie Ahern when he gave interviews on the subject. It was confirmed by the head of the Irish customs organisation when he gave evidence to the Irish Dáil. It was confirmed by Jon Thompson, the head of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, when he initially gave evidence to the Treasury Committee. This was not an issue until it was made an issue.

We are being asked to believe two extraordinary things. The first is that the Irish Republic itself might put infrastructure at the border of Northern Ireland, when the only reason that the Irish Republic recognises that there is a frontier between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is because it signed the Good Friday agreement—the Belfast agreement. Secondly, when President Juncker appeared in front of the Dáil a few months ago and was pressed to give an assurance that he would not force the Republic to put infrastructure at the border, he more or less gave that assurance. In fact, it was perfectly clear that he was not going to say, “We will force you to put infrastructure at the border”, so it is clear that the EU is not going to force anyone to put infrastructure at the border.

It is still the policy of the Government that we might leave even without a withdrawal agreement, on WTO terms. Under such circumstances, we will not put any infrastructure at the Irish border in Northern Ireland, and we will challenge the Irish Republic and the EU Commission not to do the same in the interests of peace in Northern Ireland. It is perfectly possible to manage an infrastructure-free customs frontier in Northern Ireland, and that is what will happen. It is pure obstinacy on the part of the Commission that it will not negotiate with the United Kingdom a free trade agreement on the basis of making an agreement with the whole United Kingdom, instead of excluding Northern Ireland.

Photo of Kevin Hollinrake Kevin Hollinrake Conservative, Thirsk and Malton

My hon. Friend is making some very good points. I certainly do not argue that we should be members of customs union, but the Freight Transport Association recently gave the example of a situation whereby a trailer full of 40 different consignments goes from Birmingham to Belfast, and then goes into 40 different white vans in Belfast. How does my hon. Friend propose that we would meet our responsibility to pay customs in such a situation?

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

Order. I am immensely grateful. May I encourage Sir Bernard Jenkin to draw his remarks to a close? He is within his time, but a lot of other people want to speak and I am being pressed by people who, quite understandably, want time. If the hon. Gentleman—with his brilliant eloquence and pithiness—could wrap up in a minute or two, that would be marvellous.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee)

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Just to answer my hon. Friend’s point, I think that we have to be practical. There will be a change in the way in which people treat consignments because they are crossing a customs frontier, but as the technology develops it will be possible to track individual consignments or multiple consignments in trucks across customs frontiers. We have discussed this matter with Revenue and Customs in this country. Ultimately, in future—looking ahead 10 or 20 years—the idea of customs frontiers existing between countries that trade tariff-free will become obsolete. To hinge our entire Brexit policy on the issue of not having customs declarations and customs frontiers is very last century, and we should not be captured by that.

My remarks are directed primarily at amendment 72, which I confess has turned out to be disappointingly uncontroversial. It was the intention of the European Research Group, a group of Conservative Back Benchers, to table four amendments—one or two of them in the light of the Chequers agreement and the White Paper—to test our understanding of the intention of Government policy. Every single one of our amendments, we believe, reflects Government policy. I do not imagine that the Government would have accepted any of them as calmly as they have if they did not reflect Government policy.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield

No, it is because they are useless.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee)

No, that is what he said. He said that we will have to rethink Brexit completely if we cannot get a satisfactory arrangement. That is the direction he is going in. I respect his view, but throwing around insults like “useless” is not elevating the debate.

My amendment 72 simply removes from the Bill an extraordinarily powerful Henry VIII provision that we should be signed up to a customs union with the European Union simply by order. Following the amendment that my right hon. and learned Friend Mr Grieve tabled to clause 9 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, I thought that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I do not suppose that I shall hear him speak against my amendment, because it puts Parliament back in control of the decision to join a customs union with the European Union. That is what I think we should do.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee)

I end on this one point, Mr Speaker. We have heard a lot about 40 MPs having an excessive amount of influence in this Chamber. In fact, 17.4 million people voted leave in the referendum, and 70% of Conservative MPs and 60% of Labour MPs represent leave constituencies. It would be bizarre if, in the end, the House of Commons, which was elected predominantly on leave manifestos, put up road blocks against leaving the European Union, and I do not believe that it will.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

I wish to speak to new clause 11 and against amendment 73.

Last week, we had a debate in Westminster Hall in which the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who is back in his place, advised me that everything would become clear when the White Paper was published. I am afraid that for me, 70 minutes before we are going to vote, Government policy is still not quite clear. I am going to ask the Minister a few questions in the hope that we might get some clarification from him. I am interested in the interrelationship between the Bill and the White Paper, which was published last week.

Contrary to what some right hon. and hon. Members wish to say, the common market, which is the customs union, is fantastically popular with the public. Whenever I ask my constituents, “What do you dislike about Europe?”, they say, “Being bossed around”, and “The immigration.” When I say, “What do you like about it?”, they say, “Oh, we love the common market.” Well, of course, the common market is the customs union. When I talk to industrialists, what they want—in the words of GlaxoSmithKline, which employs 1,000 people in my constituency—is “no disruption”. PPG Industries, which is a supplier to Airbus, wants a common rule book. When I spoke this morning to the North East chamber of commerce, it said that 90% of its members want to stay in the customs union. We know that legally speaking that is not possible, so we have to have a new one that will give them the “exact same benefits”.

I am not clear about whether the Bill facilitates the customs approach that is set out in the White Paper. Nor am I clear about which of the Government’s amendments have made changes to the Bill that will enable them to undertake the facilitated customs arrangement that they have described in the White Paper. Nor am I clear—I very much hope that the Minister will be able to explain this; I am sure that he now will be—about whether the Government’s proposed acceptance of amendments from the ERG means that they are abandoning the facilitated customs arrangement as their opening position or that they are still holding to it. If they are still holding to it, I would suggest that it is not wholly practical. It will need a tracking system so that when people import goods, they know where their final use is going to be. This is a whole new bureaucratic system. It means that people who import will have to have information along the supply chain that, at the moment, is of no concern to them. The White Paper says that there is going to be a formula so that we can follow the proportions from the past year, but what if things change from one year to another? Then people will have to make their rebates on the basis of new, fresh information in real time. It sounds very much as though we are going to have not only VAT but VAT mark 2.

Paragraph 20 on page 18 of the White Paper says:

“This could include looking to make it easier for traders to lodge information…This could include exploring how machine learning and artificial intelligence could allow traders to automate…This could…include exploring how allowing data sharing across borders” would work. It could include rather a lot of things. I can only imagine officials saying to Ministers when they were drafting this, “This does seem to involve rather a lot of imagination.” It does not seem to be bottomed out. I would much prefer it if we could go along the path set out by my hon. Friends on the Front Bench in new clause 11, because what is being proposed will be horrendously bureaucratic and an open invitation to smuggling.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield

There is one matter on which I agree with my right hon. Friend Mr Davis, and that is that this piece of legislation is needed if we are leaving the EU. That is the first basic point that needs to be made in considering this Bill on Report.

Then one has to consider why the Report stage becomes so controversial. The difficulty is that throughout the whole of this Brexit process, we are collectively going through an exercise in both deception and self-deception about the implications of leaving the European Union and the sort of relationship we may have thereafter.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has produced a White Paper. It is far from perfect. It, too, continues with some of those obfuscations, I have to say. To give an example—I know that this has irritated many of my right hon. and hon. Friends—it talks about the common rule book and then says, “Don’t worry—we will be escaping the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.” We may escape its jurisdiction, but I am the first to accept that the reality is that we are going to be bound by its jurisprudence, without any ability to influence how that jurisprudence develops. That is one of the costs that we are paying as a result of deciding to leave.

In exactly the same way, there are other costs that come from leaving and that we tend to brush under the carpet, including the economic costs that are going to come to this country. If we are going to make rational choices, we need to avoid continuing with exercises in self-deception. The reason I think it right to support the Prime Minister on the White Paper is that despite all the difficulties she has had, this represents the first sensible document to found a proper negotiation. I wish her well with it, even if I have criticisms of it, worry about the absence of services and a common market for that, and worry about some of its other aspects; nevertheless, it is well-intentioned.

Then I look at the four amendments tabled by some of my hon. Friends—36, 37, 72 and 73. The first thing to be said about them is that one—the one about Northern Ireland—correctly identifies an obfuscation that the Government have been practising for a considerable time. We and the European Commission are talking different languages when it comes to the backstop. I have no difficulty emphasising the fact that no Parliament of the United Kingdom is ever going to support a backstop that goes simply for Northern Ireland alone.

I turn then to new clause 36 and amendment 73. The first thing that strikes me about them is that they are designed directly to undermine the White Paper, and the second is that they do not do the job, because they are inadequately drafted. Therefore, the second obfuscation is that the Government accepted amendments that they know cannot do what they are intended to do. Not only that, but they said so to my right hon. and hon. Friends and they have decided not to say, “Oh, in those circumstances we withdraw them,” but to persist with them because they are just an exercise in bullying. It is not my job as a Member of Parliament to put on the statute book clauses that are inadequate, incomprehensible and, on top of that, seek to undermine the Government. That is why I describe those two amendments as entirely malevolent and why I shall vote against both this evening.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Labour, Warwick and Leamington 8:00 pm, 16th July 2018

I rise to speak to new clauses 1, 11 and 12, and very much in support of a customs union.

I was surprised by the way the former Secretary of State, Mr Davis, described the border between Detroit and Ontario, which I was lucky enough to visit in February with fellow members of the International Trade Committee. I witnessed something slightly different from what he witnessed. I did see friction—even on a very cold, icy day, people spent considerable time at the border. There is an X-ray building for pantechnicons, and vehicles are frequently taken out of queues to be examined. The situation there is not as simple as he suggested. To underline that—perhaps he is not aware of this—Canada is having to invest in a second bridge across the river between Ontario and Detroit to safeguard its businesses because of the delays they suffer.

I agree with Mr Clarke, for whom I have huge respect. He described the great fear associated with what seems to be the pursuit of ideological goals or indeed personal ambition on the part of certain individuals. Importantly, for almost a year I have been trying to encourage businesses—the likes of Jaguar Land Rover in my constituency and others—to speak out. Businesses are terrified of doing that because they fear incurring the wrath of the public. They see it not as their responsibility but as ours, as elected representatives. However, in recent weeks they have felt it necessary to speak out, and of course we have heard from Airbus and Jaguar Land Rover. On the rare occasions they speak, they do so softly, but it is important that we and the public listen to them.

It is far more important for us to listen to the likes of Jaguar Land Rover and BMW-Mini than—dare I say it—to Boris Johnson. I think the public are beginning to see that—and to recognise that, among all the debate that goes on in this place, those business voices are starting to provide some clarity.

Businesses have waited for more than two years for the Government to give them some sort of direction in the face of uncertainty, which is a threat to them. I was interested to hear Sir Bernard Jenkin. I respect him and his experience, but disruption and uncertainty are the greatest concerns for businesses, which have been reviewing their options for the past 24 months. Irrespective of where we end up in the coming weeks, they are already making decisions and looking at options abroad for future investment.

Anything that makes life difficult for businesses—anything that adds cost and time—makes them review their options and consider what is in their best interest. In the automotive sector and many others, businesses would not be so obviously viable if they had to incur the cost of additional tariffs under WTO rules. They will review a 10% or 4.5% tariff, cost it in and think, “Is it really best for us to stay in the UK?”

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union

My hon. Friend speaks with great experience on these matters. Does he agree that small businesses may not be able to accommodate the additional costs he mentions from tariffs, rules of origin—we discussed those earlier—and customs declarations, which may exceed the profits they make on the goods they sell? Small and medium-sized enterprises would be most adversely affected by a no deal situation, which some Government Members argue we should contemplate with equanimity.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Labour, Warwick and Leamington

My right hon. Friend is right that SMEs, particularly in the component supply chain, are the most vulnerable to these sorts of changes. They are the most likely either to lose business elsewhere or to have to move abroad. I can give concrete examples where that has already taken place.

The right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe described the apparent view that the customs union is some sort of problem holding us back. He is right that it has not held us back. The likes of Germany, which exports 10 times more to China than we do, are in the customs union, which has not been to their disadvantage. As he said, we have witnessed the most phenomenal explosion in the success of the automotive industry in this country over the past 10 years—after 20 years of relative stagnation, it grew by more than 50% in that period.

In summary, where it is rare for businesses to speak out, we should listen. They do not intervene lightly in politics, in this country or elsewhere. The preservation of a true customs union is critical to safeguarding business and investment in this country, and that is why I support new clauses 1, 11 and 12.

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Conservative, Putney

I should say first that I recognise the importance of the Bill and why it is necessary if we are leaving the European Union. However, many of the amendments reflect the fact that, regrettably, the White Paper simply does not represent the clearcut, deliverable strategy that I believe our country needs—it is a fudge.

As my right hon. Friend Greg Hands set out, remainers question why we are accepting so many rules while forfeiting the right to sit at the table where they are decided. I know that many of my colleagues who campaigned strongly to leave are equally unhappy and believe, with some merit, that people who voted leave in the referendum are simply not getting the kind of Brexit they feel would give our country the clean break it needs if it is going to be successful.

I spent a long time in business before I came to this place, and I know that if a strategy is to be successful, it needs to be clearcut and one that everyone can get behind. I may not agree with some of my colleagues about what the best strategy is, and I may not want to leave on WTO rules, but in the context of the White Paper it is important for us to listen to colleagues who are respected on this issue—perhaps none more so than my right hon. Friend Mr Davis. Of course, he has been at the forefront of this deal’s development for the past two years, alongside my hon. Friend Mr Baker, whom I think we would all describe as ever-resourceful. Both took principled decisions to leave the Government, and I respect that. I know from my own circumstances that such decisions are not easy, but I also fully understand why they took them.

There might, in practice, be three practical options for our country’s way forward, but I believe that, in reality, there are only two clear strategies, and therefore only two paths to take if we are to achieve a successful Britain in the long term. Of course, both paths have pros and cons, and although there are passionate views on both sides, it is important that we debate these, as far as possible, in a measured way.

But the Prime Minister has now presented us with a third way—a compromise between the other two pathways. I understand the Government’s desire to achieve compromise, but I genuinely believe that the White Paper demonstrates that, in reality, our choice is between either one approach or the other. It is vital that we have a realistic, clearcut strategy that can actually be delivered. If we have a plan that we cannot deliver, it is not a plan. Regrettably, the White Paper attempts to ride two horses, and that never works.

It is on that basis that I have said that this deal is the worst of all worlds, and in the end it will please no one. It is probably the worst outcome we can get. It keeps nobody happy at all. Whether one accepts my arguments or those of my right hon. Friend Priti Patel, for example, both paths have pros and cons, but both represent clear routes forward that are genuine strategies for our country.

My concern is that this place has reached stalemate. As this debate exemplifies, there are still deep divisions in people’s views, and I think we understand why. My view now is that, because of that stalemate, it is time for the British public to have the final say on the clear approaches we face on Brexit. We absolutely must settle this now if we are to move beyond Brexit and get on to the vital issues facing our country such as housing, a lack of social mobility and social care. That is what we should be aiming to do. I do not believe that we should have a compromise that simply has to be reopened and renegotiated later. I have reached my conclusion on the Chequers deal, and I know that colleagues will look more closely at it in the coming days. I leave Members to think on these words:

“Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous;
you get knocked down by the traffic from both directions.”

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

Order. Several Members, all on the same side of the House, wish to speak. I suggest that the time limit be now reduced to four minutes, but it is not obligatory for Members to consume all four.

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset

May I first thank my right hon. Friend Justine Greening for making what I thought was a remarkably gracious speech, in quite a fevered atmosphere, and for putting both sides of the case so generously and kindly?

I want to speak to the four new clauses and amendments that I have supported and, in most cases, put my name to. They are broadly in line with Government policy, which is why the Government have accepted them. New clause 37 relates to the Northern Ireland question. It is clearly Government policy that Northern Ireland should not be removed from the rest of the United Kingdom, and I think that to put that in legislation would be beneficial.

Amendment 72 relates to Henry VIII clauses. I agree with my right hon. and learned Friend Mr Grieve—or “beacon’s field”, as Benjamin Disraeli pronounced it—that we should not have Henry VIII clauses if we can possibly avoid them, as they are not good legislative practice. The fewer Henry VIII clauses we have, the better. I confess that I would have supported my right hon. and learned Friend in earlier Bills had I not thought that, in so doing, I would have caused suspicion on the other side of the European debate, with people wondering what on earth I was up to. However, I am very pleased that Henry VIII clauses are becoming less popular in the House.

Amendment 73 has been a topic of discussion in relation to no EU VAT regime. This is actually Government policy, as set out by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on “The Andrew Marr Show”, when he said that once we had left the European Union we would not be part of the EU VAT regime. The difference here is between acquisition VAT and import VAT. Import VAT is the normal way we charge VAT on third countries outside the European Union, whereas acquisition VAT is an EU system. Therefore, if we are leaving, it makes absolute sense to be out of this, and that fits with what the Government have said.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East

I do not quite see how the hon. Gentleman can say that that is compatible with the Government’s policy, given that the Chequers White Paper, which was published only last Thursday, states:

“To ensure that new declarations and border checks between the UK and the EU do not need to be introduced for VAT and Excise purposes, the UK proposes the application of common cross-border processes and procedures for VAT and Excise”.

How is his proposal in any way compatible with Government policy?

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset 8:15 pm, 16th July 2018

I can merely appeal to how this was set out by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who said that we would not be part of the EU’s VAT regime. VAT is not collected at the border; it is collected via statements from people who import and then send in returns in relation to their VAT. This would enforce a uniform system across all our VAT collection—that is the purpose. If a Government Minister states that that is Government policy, it is good enough for me, and if it is Government policy to have that in law, it seems quite sensible. Therefore, not having a clause that is contradictory to Government policy simply flows from that.

I want to focus on new clause 36, which has attracted the most controversy in this debate. The importance of the new clause is that it would actually allow the Government to run their trade policy. Trade remedies, which were mentioned by my right hon. Friend Greg Hands, would not be possible if the new clause were not implemented, because that position would simply allow for goods to be imported into the UK via other EU member states and not subject to any anti-dumping measures that we might have taken.

Right hon. and hon. Members might be aware that in 2016 we bought £42 billion-worth of imports from Holland and £26 billion-worth of imports from Belgium. That was not entirely clogs and chocolates; it was, in fact, re-imports of goods that had come through the major ports in the low countries and through to the United Kingdom. That is a major gateway of goods into the EU that then come to the UK. If we have our own trade policy, we must be able to ensure that those goods are subject to our duties, in terms of revenue collection and protection, but also in terms of anti-dumping measures, if we choose to take them. Otherwise, we would find that we were simply following anti-dumping measures implemented by the European Union and had no independent policy.

The point of reciprocity also seems to me to be fair. If we are to say to the European Union, “We will collect your taxes and remit them to you,” that is potentially a large amount of money to be sending to the European Union, giving up all the duties that would fall to us as a result of goods entering the 27 remaining member states. Should we really be affording to do that? What is happening to that revenue, in terms of our independent trade policy, not if we want anti-dumping measures, but if we want to lower prices?

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Conservative, Huntingdon

Let me start by saying that, to my mind, the European Research Group’s amendments are clearly aimed at restricting the Government’s ability to negotiate, if indeed they are compatible with the White Paper at all—a White Paper that I support. Amendment 73 and new clause 36 certainly fall into that category. I think that they have been tabled by those who wish to create such difficulties and red lines that we are forced into a hard Brexit, ostensibly by default but secretly by design. They will not have my support tonight.

I want to address the claims of those who say that we do not want the FCA, or indeed a customs union, because we cannot then strike our own trade deals. I note that the Government maintain that we should be able to separate goods from services, but others caution against that because goods and services are often so intrinsically linked that it is unrealistic. I will wait to see the EU’s position.

However, on the central issue of negotiating our own FTAs, I think that we need to question the benefits that so many seem to be taking for granted. First, we need to appreciate that the Department for International Trade is currently acting like something of a Jekyll and Hyde character—on the one hand the Secretary of State is talking about bravely striding around the world seeking new FTAs with countries such as the US and China, but on the other he is pleading with the EU and about 70 third-party countries to roll over the existing 40 or so FTAs that the EU now has with them. So, with more than one third of the world’s countries, Brexit represents the chance at best to get the same deal as from the EU. From the look of things, we may yet get a worse deal in some cases as those third countries start evaluating the decreased advantage of dealing with 50 million rather than 500 million people.

Secondly, there is little evidence that business sees any advantage in customs differentiation—indeed, quite the opposite. The vast majority see advantages in our customs negotiating position, which emanates from the power of the huge trading bloc that the EU represents, and will wish in any event to stick as closely as possible to whatever trading position the EU takes.

Thirdly, world trade is much more interlinked and complex than most people discuss. For example, some of the existing trade agreements that we want to roll over, such as those with Canada and South Korea, feature most favoured nation clauses. Therefore, if we agree a FTA with the USA that offers better terms than those we agreed with Canada, Canada would need to be offered the same. The advantages of being outside the customs union are thus much reduced in any event, and talk of becoming a colony or vassal state is ridiculous.

Fourthly, we live in a world of trading deals where size matters. Rather than discussing a trade deal with the US, we have become caught up in a trade battle. Again, if we were in a customs union, we would have more cover.

Finally, the process of negotiating new FTAs is a long and arduous business. The average time is seven years; Canada took 15 years. Bargaining is tough and based on potential market clout. That goes back to the possibility of US chlorinated chickens and so forth. We need—

Photo of Kevin Hollinrake Kevin Hollinrake Conservative, Thirsk and Malton

I want to speak against new clause 1, which my right hon. Friend Anna Soubry tabled.

Among many points my constituents have made to me in the past few weeks, they have asked why the House cannot work together on Brexit. I suppose the simple answer is that our biggest challenge—what divides us most—is not acceptance of the result of the referendum on 23 June 2016, but its practical interpretation as the basis for our future relationship with the EU.

Parliament is bound by our promise on Brexit, but perhaps it also needs to accept some key principles, which reflect the promises that were made during the referendum campaign. Where better to look for those promises than the voice of the official body that argued for Brexit—Vote Leave? On trade, the Vote Leave manifesto was clear:

“We take back the power to make our own trade deals”.

On that basis, it is clear that we must not remain part of a customs union as that would prevent us from directly negotiating and implementing trade deals. It is, therefore, strange that being part of a customs union seems to be Labour party policy, which goes right against the clear mandate that the people gave us.

There were other commitments in the Vote Leave manifesto, for example,

“one thing which won’t change is our ability to trade freely with Europe.”

On that basis, it is fair for businesses, and the people whose jobs rely on those businesses, to assume that nothing will change. Of course, Members have made the point that other countries manage to have just-in-time supply chains when they have a customs border, but most countries have not been part of a trading environment for 44 years in which they have not carried the burden of those complexities.

We know from Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage that businesses have a choice to station themselves here or move jobs to other parts of the EU because extra costs will ensue if they do not: costs for customs checks and for checks on standards. I believe that staying part of a customs union is not consistent with the mandate that the people gave us, but that the White Paper, as articulated by the Prime Minister, deals with our obligation to leave the EU while also minimising the costs of comparative advantage. The House should support it.

Photo of Charlie Elphicke Charlie Elphicke Conservative, Dover

In the referendum campaign, the Home Office told my constituents that the jungle would move from Calais to Dover. The former Prime Minister said that there would be queues of lorries and gridlock on the way to Dover—a mantra that the Labour party took up. The Treasury told my constituents that they would lose their jobs and their homes to boot in a calamitous disaster.

Despite that level of fear, my constituents believed in the opportunity that lay before them. Two thirds voted to leave the EU. Why? Because they believed in the kind of opportunities and the kind of Britain that we can build. They believed in better. They believed in the future, in our sense of nationhood and independence and in the country that we could build: independent and out in the wide world. It is important to remember that, because change does not come easily; it takes political courage.

Our voters have shown more courage than far too many Members of this House, who fear change and are afraid of grasping opportunities and what the world offers. Our voters better understand the need for that courage. They can look at the figures and see that the EU has been in relative decline in the past few decades, going from 30% to just 15% of GDP. [Interruption.] The spokesman for Brussels, Tom Brake, does not like those figures, but they are true. Our voters also know that 90% of future economic growth in the world will come from outside the EU. That is why it is so important to believe in better, back our constituents and make a success of Britain out in the world—a global Britain.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Conservative, Chelmsford

We are leaving the EU and that means that we need to have a new relationship with the single market and the customs union—we cannot carry on as we were before. However, leave voters were told time and again that trade would continue, and that having customs clarity was important to that trade.

I want to dispel some myths. First, zero-tariff regimes are not the same as no-tariff regimes. A no-tariff regime, which we have now, means no customs declaration and no rules of origin. A zero-tariff regime means both. That is why I am glad that the White Paper says that we will have no customs declarations and no rules of origin.

On myth two, you do not need to be in a customs union to resolve the rules of origin issue. That can be done through a PEM convention. On myth three, being in a single rulebook on goods does not stop you from doing trade deals with other parts of the world—just look at Switzerland. On myth four, trading on World Trade Organisation rules means that there will have to be a goods border in Ireland, otherwise the UK will breach our agreements with other trading partners, as will the EU. On myth five, just-in-time delivery of goods coming from China, which takes four weeks at sea, is not the same as just-in-time delivery across the channel.

I support some of the amendments. New clause 37 on no hard border in the Irish sea makes sense. Amendment 72 also makes sense. However, I am concerned about amendment 73. I do not like the EU VAT regime, but we need more clarity on that. On new clause 36, I agree we need a balanced approach on tax collection, but how it is worded is very unclear. I do not understand how the word “reciprocity” works in a legal framework when it is country to country versus us to EU. There needs to be a much clearer legal basis.

Photo of Jack Brereton Jack Brereton Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent South

I want to focus on trade remedies. This is particularly important for the ceramic sector in my constituency, so I am absolutely delighted that the Government have listened to the arguments I have been making over the past year and secured clarifying amendments on trade remedies that, critically, will deliver the right Brexit for the ceramic sector, for wider manufacturing industry, and, most importantly, for the workforce and the voters of Stoke-on-Trent.

The Government have tabled several critical amendments. I was very pleased last week to have an answer to a written question providing confirmation on establishing normal value. That is so important to resisting the dumping of ceramic products from China. Significant state subsidisation by China, particularly in the ceramics industry, threatens British industry, so I am pleased that the Government have listened to those arguments and, through their amendments, have taken action.

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy), SNP Deputy Leader 8:30 pm, 16th July 2018

Given that there may not be a Third Reading, I will start very briefly with some thank yous. I would like to thank Scott Taylor, one of our researchers. I would also like to thank the work of the Public Bill Office, particularly that of Colin Lee and Gail Poulton, who have been absolutely excellent in their support to all of us who have been here throughout the passage of the Bill.

I want to talk about the history of the Bill and how we got to this point. We had the Committee stage earlier this year. On the Saturday morning after it finished, and almost out of the blue, the UK Government announced that they would not be entering into a customs union. They clearly did not think it through, bringing out the announcement at the most stupid time: after all the debates in Committee. It was totally ill-thought-out.

We then had the Chequers agreement on 6 July. The White Paper was published on 12 July, which Members will note was the day after the amendments were tabled to this Report stage of the Bill—we all had to table our amendments before we had actually seen the White Paper. I thank the Minister for coming to Westminster Hall to give us some level of reassurance, but pretty much all the reassurance he could give was, “Please look at the White Paper that’s coming out on Thursday.” It has, therefore, been really difficult to prepare for the Bill. It has been really difficult to write this speech, trying to game exactly what is going to happen tonight. I am still not clear.

There are too many factions in this House. We have the UK Government, the Conservative remainers, the European Research Group, the Democratic Unionist party, the Labour leavers, the Labour remainers and the Labour Front Bench. The UK Government will not support things put forward by anybody who supports remain. The Labour Front Bench will not support anything put forward by the Conservative remainers. The members of the ERG will not support anything put forward by anybody except themselves. The Democratic Unionist party will support whatever the UK Government tells it to, on the basis that it is being paid to do so. Mr Speaker, it is a complete shambles. Trying to do anything sensible in this House is incredibly difficult, especially given that we know there is a majority for a customs union among the Members of this House. Despite that, we are going to end up in a situation where members of the ERG, who believe in the polar opposite of a customs union, are having their amendments accepted. When the rest of us put forward anything vaguely sensible, our amendments are not accepted.

This is certainly not about sovereignty for the people or sovereignty for Parliament; it is about sovereignty for a very small group of elite Tories who want to have their say. The Government are letting them have their say. I could not be more angry about the fact that the ERG’s amendments are apparently going to be accepted. I do not want to direct all my ire at those on the Government Front Bench. Those on the Labour Front Bench need to be absolutely clear on their position. They need to be clear that they will support the softest possible Brexit. If they are talking about a jobs-first Brexit, they need to recognise the benefits of the customs union and the single market. They have the opportunity to do that tonight by supporting some of the amendments that have been tabled by those who support a soft Brexit.

The Scottish National party does not support fully a number of amendments that we plan to vote for tonight. Our position is that Scotland voted to remain in the EU, so we would like to remain in the EU. Scotland supports remaining in the single market and the customs union, so the SNP will support anything that keeps us in the single market and the customs union. In the absence of those options being on the table, we will do what we can to protect the economic and cultural interests of the whole of the United Kingdom. Even though some of the amendments are not brilliant, we will vote for anything that makes Brexit slightly softer than the Brexit that is being proposed. I needed to make it clear that just because we support an amendment here does not mean that it is a preferred option. It means that it is not quite as bad as some of the other options.

I make it clear that I will press new clause 16, in my name and the names of my colleagues, and I would also like to speak in favour of our other amendments. The SNP position is crystal clear, as I said. The UK Government position is not. I welcome some clarity that is given in the White Paper that was published after Chequers, but I have major concerns about some of it. It mentions specifically a trusted trader scheme. On the trusted trader scheme that we have—the authorised economic operator scheme—I have raised concern after concern about it, and I am not the only one; organisations such as the British Chambers of Commerce have, too. If there is to be an expanded trusted trader scheme, it needs to actually work. It needs to be applicable to small businesses and businesses need to be able to access that scheme. We are now at the stage that businesses should know what those schemes are. If the Government are going to bring them forward, they need to do so as quickly as they possibly can so that businesses can be clear on what basis they will be trading in future. That is really important.

I am pleased to see that diagonal accumulation has been recognised in the Chequers agreement. I have been talking about it for some time, and I am really glad that it has been recognised and that we will have a situation where we will possibly still be able to export cars to South Korea, because that is really important for our car industry. I am pleased that the Government have now made it clear that they are pursuing that.

Protective geographical indicators are also mentioned in the Chequers White Paper. I am slightly concerned about the way the Government are going on this. It would be very good to have more information around that. A PGI scheme that applies only to the UK and does not recognise EU PGIs is a bit of a problem, so we need more clarity from the UK Government on how they intend the PGI scheme to work. I know that there is a negotiation but, if we could have their point of view first, that would be very useful.

I want to briefly mention some of the other meat in the Bill and something that the British Retail Consortium brought to us. It encapsulated some of the issues with the Bill very neatly. It said that there are not yet agreements on security, transit, haulage, VAT and people and that we need mutual recognition on veterinary, health and other checks with the EU. It seems that the Government are pursuing some of this, so that is good news. We need investment in IT systems to deliver the customs declaration system. Again, I am still not convinced that this will come through in time, so if the Minister could give reassurance that it will, I would very much appreciate it. We need co-ordination between agencies at ports and borders, as well as investment and capacity and staff at ports. The Government have not done enough on both those things. They have not put the extra resource into ports. They have not told ports how they will be administering these things in the future. If ports are going to have to massively increase their staff numbers, they need to know now how they will do that.

On queuing, a two-minute delay at Dover will create a 17-mile queue, so it is not as though Operation Stack will just happen as normal. This will not be Operation Stack. It will be an incredibly large version of it, and Operation Stack was bad enough. The BRC also mentioned AEOs, particularly in relation to small and medium-sized enterprises. All those things are still concerns about the Bill and I will raise them on Third Reading, if we have a Third Reading debate, because I do not believe that the Bill is fit for purpose as it is.

I specifically want to talk about the new clauses from the ERG. If the UK Government are bound to accept them, we have a very, very severe problem. I have major issues with new clauses 36 and 37 and amendments 72 and 73. New clause 36 relates to reciprocity. Page 13 of the Chequers agreement says:

“At the core of the UK’s proposal is the establishment by the UK and the EU of a free trade area for goods.”

It then goes on to make clear on page 17 that

“the UK is not proposing that the EU applies the UK’s tariffs and trade policy at its border for goods intended for the UK.”

This new clause directly contradicts that.

What is the point in having a White Paper released on a Thursday if the Government are going to ignore it on Monday? I do not understand how we can be in that position. How can businesses know where we are going if the Government do not even know where they are going? For the Government to be accepting amendments by a group of around 14—who knows how many of them there are?—ERG members in order to get a hard Brexit is absolutely ridiculous. If there is going to be a Brexit, we need a Brexit that does what the Labour party suggests it should do: protects jobs. We need the Labour party to support a Brexit that protects jobs as well, not just us.

The Bill is a mess. It does not do what it set out to do, which is replicate the union customs code, and it does not now do what the Chequers agreement said it would on Friday. We need everybody in the House, from all the various factions I mentioned earlier, to get behind proposals that protect jobs and the sovereignty of the people, not just the sovereignty of an elite few.

Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

I read the White Paper on the train home on Thursday, if only out of a sense of morbid curiosity, but following the Prime Minister’s capitulation to the Brexiteers today, that curiosity has turned to a sense of the macabre. To begin with, we had the woman in the bunker with the blacked-out windows saying we were outward facing. Are we? This from the Prime Minister who invented a hostile environment for the Windrush generation and for disabled people claiming their rightful benefits and whose Government have been on the wrong side of the law more times than Arthur Daley.

The Prime Minister went on to state that we had a dynamic and innovative economy. Do we? Our economy is 35% less productive than Germany’s, we invest less and we have the most regionally imbalanced economy in Europe. Growth is sluggish and inflation stubborn. And on it goes—it gets more surreal. She says we live by common values of openness and tolerance for others and the rule of law. Really? The only thing the Conservative party is open to and tolerant of is big fat donations from Russian oligarchs. But here is where it gets really interesting. When she speaks about sticking to our principles, one has to wonder which principles she is referring to—the ones she referred to yesterday and which are enshrined in the White Paper or those she holds this afternoon, which tear the White Paper to shreds. Perhaps the Minister can enlighten us.

The Prime Minister wanted to deliver an ambition to “once and for all” strengthen our communities, our Union, our democracy and our place in the world. I will take those claims one by one: our communities have been ripped apart by austerity; our Union is in danger from Ministers out of touch with the needs of any nation and afraid to move away from their desks in case someone else takes it; our democracy is threatened by swathes of Henry VIII powers; and our place in the world is a laughing stock due to the Prime Minister’s supine sycophancy to Donald Trump, who humiliated her.

The White Paper—what is left of it—came from the pen of a Prime Minister obsessed with silly soundbites. She used to talk about “Labour’s magic money tree” until she wanted a magic money tree of her own with which to bribe the Democratic Unionist party, when that phrase was quickly ditched. What about the infamous “strong and stable” mantra? It turned out to be more like a strong and stable smell of panic during the election and was ditched as well. Finally, it seems that this White Paper has also been ditched.

As for Northern Ireland, I present, Mr Speaker, the buffer zone—a 10-mile-wide area along the entire boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Under the EU’s trading rules, to be operational this buffer would have to be policed on both sides of the 10-mile divide. Did we really spend decades trying to get rid of divides in Northern Ireland only to resurrect them? I think not. As for the facilitated customs arrangement, we are not clear what about it constitutes a partnership, as it would effectively leave UK customs officials working to maintain a customs union that we are no longer a part of.

Regardless of who is responsible for managing the duties, it remains unclear how the FCA would be frictionless. Presumably the final destination of goods would have to be queried as they enter the UK. This would slow down the passage of goods across our borders and prevent intricate supply chains from functioning properly. It would lead to waste, uncertainty and expense for business, to higher prices for consumers and to job losses and production moving abroad, as Anna Soubry pointed out. In that regard, the comments from Sir Edward Leigh were unconscionable.

What about the UK border? Does the Minister expect checks to be in place to ensure that goods that claim the UK as their final destination are not diverted into the EU once they arrive? Presumably we would need customs checks and controls between the EU and the UK to reconcile goods to documents when, for example, UK anti-dumping duties exceed those applicable on import. Can the Minister clarify? Can he tell us how many trusted traders—the Tories using the word “trusted”; that’s a laugh, isn’t it?—are currently registered with the Government’s scheme and how many they believe will be registered by the end of the transition period?

Of course, all this can be avoided if the House chooses to support Labour’s clear and pragmatic solution to the issues of frictionless trade within the EU and preventing a hard border in Northern Ireland. New clause 11 presents Labour’s practical solution to the problems that have confounded the Conservatives. In our new clause, we call on the Government to negotiate a new customs union with the European Union, to be in place when we leave the current customs union at the end of the transition period. That is the only way to ensure that we can have frictionless trade with our largest trading partner, and help to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. It is what business needs and producers want, and it is what would most benefit the public.

I encourage Members on both sides of the House—even the Chancellor, who is muttering away there—to support our new clause, which will ensure that the Government negotiate a settlement that puts both the British economy and the Good Friday agreement first. What we will not countenance are new clause 36 and amendment 37: we are not having those.

There is no greater evidence of the need for robust trade remedies than the current global climate. We are witnessing the familiarities and the old certainties of free trade being laid waste by a United States President who is committed to imposing protectionist tariffs on the rest of the world: a United States President who rebuffs diplomacy daily in favour of angry tweets late at night, who favours confrontation over co-operation, and who is willing to exchange open markets for the very real threat of trade wars.

This uncertain climate makes it all the more important for the Government to adopt trade remedies—more important than ever. It is no exaggeration to say that without robust trade remedies, the UK faces the spectre of whole sections of our economy being wiped out, destroyed by punitive tariffs and undercut by state-sponsored dumping. The reality is that when countries engage in trade wars or trading one protectionist tariff for another, at risk are the very jobs and industries on which communities across the country rely. As we pointed out on Second Reading and in Committee, the remedies proposed in the Bill remain pitiful, to say the least. They are far weaker than the remedies currently in place at EU level, and will leave the UK worse off than most developed trading nations.

While there is a clear case for assessing the economic impact of trade remedies on key sectors of the economy and exports, the establishment of an undefined public interest test is more worrying. As the Bill stands, the Secretary of State could argue that flooding UK markets with cheap chlorinated chicken from the United States is in the public interest, or that cheap aluminium wheels from China would lower the cost of cars and would therefore also be in the public interest. Our amendment 21 would reverse the burden of proof, strengthening the Trade Remedies Authority and forcing the Secretary of State to produce overwhelming evidence if he decides to ignore state-sponsored dumping and its trade-distorting impact.

The Government are in a state of panic, chaos and capitulation. That is why the Chancellor, at the 11th hour, has chosen to table a flurry of amendments—but it is a bit too little, too late. As for parliamentary oversight, the Bill reflects yet another encroachment on parliamentary sovereignty and parliamentary scrutiny. It seeks to rob the House of Commons of its right to scrutinise the UK’s future trade and customs policy. The International Trade Secretary, not the House, would have the final say over whether the UK adopts trade remedies to protect key industries. While the Government seek to sideline the House, the Opposition’s new clause 13 would empower it.

We have reached a crossroads in the Brexit negotiations. This dysfunctional and divided Government cannot continue to ignore the blindingly obvious fact that a new customs union is the only way in which to ensure frictionless trade and access to the single market. I say this to them: if they cannot get a grip, they must get out.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee 8:45 pm, 16th July 2018

I call the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, but, as I do so, I must advise the House that the right hon. Gentleman is accompanied tonight, on his 13th wedding anniversary, by his good wife Michelle and their daughters Ophelia and Evelyn. It is an unusual way to spend the evening, but we hope they are enjoying it and we look forward to hearing the right hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

Mr Speaker, that is quite an introduction; thank you most graciously for your lovely comments—you will no doubt be injecting some zip into my marriage.

The Government have been clear that when we leave the EU we will leave the customs union; this is a matter of fact. And when considering the end state, the Government will not be seeking to negotiate any form of customs union. The Government proposal will create a UK-EU free trade area which establishes a common rulebook for industrial goods and agricultural products. This will maintain common high standards in these areas, but also ensure that no new changes take place in future without the approval of Parliament. As a result, we will avoid friction at the borders and protect jobs and livelihoods, as well as meet our commitment to Northern Ireland. We are proposing a new business-friendly customs model with the freedom to strike new trade deals around the world, a facilitated customs arrangement.

Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

I wish the right hon. Gentleman—my old friend, who was my former economics tutorial partner at university—a happy anniversary, but why are services less important than goods?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

Services are most certainly not less important than goods; they make up about 80% of the economy and we will retain greater freedoms in terms of being able to do deals around the world in that respect. But under this approach, the UK will apply its own tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the UK and the UK’s tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the EU. This option meets the UK’s strategic objectives for our future customs relationship with the EU.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his wedding anniversary. He has mentioned the facilitated customs arrangement, which is the point of the White Paper. In describing it, the White Paper states at paragraph 17:

“However, the UK is not proposing that the EU applies the UK’s tariffs and trade policy at its border for goods intended for the UK,” and also says we are not expecting it to be replicated in Europe. New clause 36 directly contradicts that. I gather that there are legalisms that the people who advised on the White paper no doubt did not consider when we put in the reference to reciprocity. Now my right hon. Friend is going to give us legalisms as to why it does not matter if we take reciprocity. The political point of these amendments is to destroy the White Paper and the arrangements it proposes. If he accepts them, their supporters will come back for more. Why does he not vote against them and leave them in a tiny minority in the House of Commons, which they actually represent?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that intervention. I have very little time, but I will come on to his point. The main point is that one has to read paragraph 17a of the White Paper in its entirety in order to grasp its full meaning, rather than take one part of it.

I will now address the amendments before us today. New clause 1 and consequential amendment 2, as spoken to initially by my right hon. Friend Anna Soubry, would establish a negotiating objective for the UK to maintain its participation in the EU customs union and make the commencement of parts 1 and 2 of the Bill conditional upon the outcome of those negotiations. I have already set out that the UK leaving the EU customs union is a straightforward legal consequence of leaving the EU, so the Government must reject these amendments, as well as amendment 1.

The same applies to other amendments before us today: new clauses 1, 3, 4, 11 and 12 and their various consequential amendments, as well as amendments 8, 9, 12 and 14, but that does not mean that we will not seek to enter into a business-friendly and pragmatic arrangement that maintains trade that is as frictionless as possible between the UK and the EU27 as part of our future partnership with the EU. That is because this Government fully recognise, as was set out so eloquently by my right hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe, the vital importance of the EU as a trading partner that in turn supports the economy and jobs and prosperity throughout the UK.

Let me now turn to new clause 36, tabled by my right hon. Friend Priti Patel, which would prevent the implementation of a new arrangement that would see HMRC accounting for duty collected by HMRC to the Government of another territory or country unless the arrangement was reciprocal. The Government have been clear in the White Paper that under their proposed facilitated customs arrangement, the UK and the EU would agree a mechanism for the remittance of relevant tariff revenue. The UK proposes a reciprocal tariff revenue formula taking account of goods destined for the UK entering via the EU and of goods destined for the EU entering via the UK. The White Paper itself states:

“The UK and the EU should agree a mechanism for the remittance of relevant tariff revenue. On the basis that this is likely to be the most robust approach, the UK proposes a tariff revenue formula, taking account of goods destined for the UK entering via the EU and goods destined for the EU entering via the UK.”

New clause 36 is consistent with the Chequers proposal and the White Paper, so the Government are content to accept it—

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

I will not give way, no. [Hon. Members: “Give way!”] I have a lot to cover, and I will not give way.

Amendment 72, tabled by my hon. Friend Sir Bernard Jenkin, seeks to ensure that clause 31 cannot be used to form a customs union between the UK and the EU without primary legislation. As I have set out, the Government have been clear that as we leave the European Union, we will also leave the EU’s customs union, so the Government have no objection to this enhanced level of Parliamentary security—[Interruption.] I have four minutes remaining, but I will take one intervention if it is brief.

Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd Conservative, Hastings and Rye

My right hon. Friend will be aware that there is some concern on this side of the House regarding new clause 36. He has set out why he is prepared to accept it, but will he reaffirm for those of us on both sides of the House who have those concerns that this will not impact on the negotiating strategy of the UK Government?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The negotiating strategy of the UK Government is to seek reciprocity in this respect, and that is set out very clearly in the White Paper. Importantly, amendment 72 does not interfere with the Government’s purpose. We have no objection to the principle behind the amendment and we therefore accept it.

Amendment 73, tabled by my hon. Friend Craig Mackinlay, will remove a specific power that will enable HMRC to make regulations covering the application of VAT to goods in circumstances where we reach a customs union agreement with other customs unions or territories under clause 31. The Chequers agreement does not propose such an arrangement with the European Union as part of the future economic partnership, so the Government accept this amendment.

The effect of new clause 37, tabled by my hon. Friend Mr Robertson, would be to ensure that Northern Ireland would not form part of a separate customs territory from Great Britain. This new clause is a straightforward statement of Government policy. It ensures that the Government will not act in a manner incompatible with the commitments made in the joint report of December last year, when we committed to protecting the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom, as well as to turning the joint report commitments into legally binding form. The Government also accept this new clause.

I shall turn now to our future VAT arrangements with the EU. New clause 2 seeks to establish a negotiating objective to maintain the UK’s participation in the EU VAT area. This would limit our ability to appropriately consider our future VAT policy, and for that reason we reject it. The Government are also making an amendment to a schedule to the Finance Act 2008. Amendment 83 is consequential on the new customs framework provided for in the Bill, and is necessary to ensure certain excise penalties remain in place on EU exit.

I now wish to turn briefly to the powers in the Bill. It is critical that we have these powers to allow us to respond flexibly, but we accept that in some cases it may be considered proportionate to apply the made affirmative procedure, and I am grateful for the discussion that I have had with my hon. Friend Antoinette Sandbach in this regard. It is on this basis that the Government have brought forward amendments 75, 76, 79, 81 and 23, which apply the made affirmative procedure to the powers under clauses 30, 42 and 47—the powers to make general provision in relation to import duty and to deal with retained EU VAT and excise law.

Clause 25 permits disclosures for customs duty purposes and makes it clear that disclosures that would contravene the Data Protection Act 1998 are not permitted. We accept the Scottish National party’s amendments 33 and 34, which seek clarity in that regard.

Finally, we have had a full, robust and comprehensive debate today, as is entirely appropriate for a Bill of such importance. It is important for our ability to continue as one of the world’s great trading nations after our departure from the EU and to accommodate our future customs arrangement within our future economic partnership with the EU.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

New clause 36 and amendment 73 are designed not to help the White Paper, but to wreck it. I am going to try to help the White Paper, which is why I seek leave to withdraw new clause 1.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, 8 January).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

New Clause 11