May 20, 2018

Theresa May crowned 'Brexit Queen' by Tory Eurosceptic MP

03 May 2018, 01:37 | Rufus Hill

SKY NEWSBrexit news Isaby shut down Shick after she said Britons had not voted to leave the customs union

Brexit news- Nina Schick and Jonathan Isaby

The so-called customs partnership would align Britain's approach to customs with the EU's, removing the need for a customs border and would see British authorities collect the tariffs and pass them to the European Union if the imports came from elsewhere.

In a meeting which ran over to last two and a half hours, May told colleagues that the final arrangement must ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and no customs border down the Irish Sea, and leave trade with the remaining European Union "as frictionless as possible".

May's decision to leave the EU's customs union, which sets tariffs for goods imported into the bloc, has become one of the main flashpoints in the Brexit debate in Britain, pitting companies and pro-EU campaigners against a vocal group of hardline eurosceptic lawmakers.

Senior politicians have handed Mrs May a so-called "ultimatum" demanding she abandons the idea of the United Kingdom entering a "customs partnership" ahead of a meeting of her Brexit war cabinet.

Mr Rees-Mogg denied that the group was threatening to move against the prime minister unless she took the customs partnership off the table.

"There is no question of there being an ultimatum", he said.

Mrs May told MPs: 'We are committed to having no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and as frictionless trade as possible with the European Union'.

Global trade secretary Liam Fox has hinted he could quit if Mrs May tries to keep Britain in a customs union.

But six of the 11 ministers at the meeting, including the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid, are understood to have opposed the plan because it would limit Britain's ability to strike free trade deals outside Europe.

Of all the invidious political dilemmas facing Theresa May over Brexit, Britain's future customs relationship with the European Union is now the most pressing and the most hard.

He told Today the discussions would "start this afternoon and will probably continue in other meetings", adding: "I expect we will come to a decision on this, as well as on other important elements of our negotiating position, over the next few weeks".

In Dublin, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said there was a risk that Britain and the European Union would fail to reach a withdrawal deal by an October deadline unless "real and meaningful" progress was made by a summit in June of the bloc's leaders.

She also faces increasingly urgent demands from Brussels to come up with a customs plan to avoid a return to a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

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