Stephen Farry: A customs union is the only solution for the UK

Stephen Farry: A customs union is the only solution for the UK

British Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to avert a cabinet rebellion amid fears from euroskeptic lawmakers of her party that she will keep the United Kingdom in the European Union's customs union after Brexit.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is battling to avert a Cabinet revolt amid fears from euroskeptic Tories that she'll break her promise to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union's trade regime.

Last week, Britain's upper house of parliament inflicted an embarrassing defeat the government, challenging her refusal to remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.

What is the customs union?

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"The Charter of Fundamental Rights was never the source of rights in the United Kingdom - it simply reaffirmed rights that already existed in EU law and the EU (Withdrawal) Bill will convert this EU law into United Kingdom law". European officials also see staying in the arrangement as a potential solution to the otherwise intractable issue of how to avoid a hard border between the United Kingdom and Ireland after Brexit.

Arguing against the amendment, Lord (Richard) Keen said by retaining the charter, Britain would be opening up to being influenced by "foreign law" that could to lead to "constitutional outrage".

The customs union means the EU is a trade bloc with all the countries involved applying the same tariff on goods from outside coming in.

A spokesperson for the Brexit department said: "We are disappointed that the House of Lords has voted for this amendment in spite of the assurances we have provided".

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The most sensible way forward is for the United Kingdom as a whole to remain within a customs union with the EU and to allow Northern Ireland to remain within the single market.

Leaving the customs union would also mean mandatory customs checks for every lorry between the United Kingdom and EU until a free trade deal is struck with Brussels, potentially causing major delays, Sky News reports.

Who supports leaving the customs union?

Mrs May is set to hold a meeting of her inner cabinet on Wednesday where Brexit-supporting ministers are likely to press the issue of leaving the customs union. "It would also be a vote of disdain for the British people who voted to leave the European Union". After all, this would be a huge gamble given we are in a hung parliament. The Times reported in Monday's edition that May favors a close partnership deal in which the United Kingdom conducts the EU's customs checks on the bloc's behalf, but that some of her ministers believe this won't work.

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