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.