Keir Starmer, the Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, has said that Labour’s policy is now to support a permanent customs union treaty after Brexit. The policy is a change to their previous position where Labour opposed remaining in the customs union.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Starmer said:
“We’ve long championed being in a customs union with the EU and the benefits of that. Obviously it’s the only way realistically to get tariff-free access. It’s really important for our manufacturing base, and nobody can answer the question how you keep your commitment to no hard border in Northern Ireland without a customs union”.
Referring to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, Starmer added about the change of policy:
“Then over the summer, as you know, I laid out the position for the transitional arrangements, that we’d be in a customs union, and said then that it ought to be an option on the table. We’ve now had many weeks of discussion and unanimously we’ve agreed – we had a big meeting on Monday to develop our policy and Jeremy will announce that tomorrow”.
On the same programme Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, denied that the Government were delaying legislation because they feared defeat on the customs union issue, but added:
“We want to persuade our colleagues of the merits of our argument before we take the Bill forward”.