EU VAT area and pre-commencement requirements

Part of Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 16th July 2018.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East 5:45 pm, 16th July 2018

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.