Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:48 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Marcus Fysh Marcus Fysh Conservative, Yeovil 4:48 pm, 27th March 2019

I am not going to give way because I know that a lot of people want to speak.

In a customs union, we would not be in control of various aspects of the process. We would not be in control of the conditions of the border formalities, nor of the tariffs collected. For example, if goods were coming to our market via Rotterdam, the tariffs on those imports—effectively to us—would be collected and kept in the European Union. A customs union would not give us control over our money, our trading partners’ access to our market, or our traders’ access to our trading partners’ markets. It really is inconceivable that we should even be considering any recognisable description of a permanent customs union as a feature of leaving the EU. That is one reason that people outside this place are quite confused by some of the suggestions that the House has been coming up with.

Many of the single market and customs union proposals on the table tonight would not obviate the need for a backstop in the withdrawal agreement, so the problems of the withdrawal agreement highlighted by some Conservative Members and others would remain anyway. There is the problem of being hostage to fortune within the further negotiation of how these customs union or single market arrangements might work. For example, exemptions on fishing and other matters would still be up for negotiation, as we heard earlier, but we would be in a relatively weak position in those negotiations. Defence manufacturing would be prejudiced by the backstop, should we end up having to go into it. The same is true for agriculture, as the restrictions on state aid for our agriculture, while the EU is allowed to subsidise its agriculture, would still remain. The issue of Northern Ireland—what happens to Northern Ireland should we not be able to agree—would still remain. I do not really see those motions as solutions. It is also possible, to come to the circumstances of my motion—