Labour backs customs union membership

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn today gave more details about the party’s shift in position on the customs union alongside more insight into Labour’s thinking on Brexit.

He announced in a speech in Coventry that Labour’s priority is to get the best deal for people’s jobs, living standards and the economy. Regarding the customs union, Mr Corbyn said that “Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union to ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland.” This is the first time the Labour Party have officially backed a new customs union and is in direct competition with the Government’s position which is not to tie the country into any form of customs union.

Other highlights from the Labour Leader’s speech include:

  • Labour announcing that it would seek a final deal that gives the UK full access to European markets and maintain the benefits of the single market and the customs with no new impediments to trade and no reduction in rights, standards and protections.
  • He highlighted how many UK businesses have supply chains and production processes, interwoven throughout Europe, adding therefore “it makes no sense for the UK to abandon EU agencies and tariff-free trading rules that have serves us well, supporting our industrial sectors, protecting workers and consumers and safeguarding the environment.”
  • Regarding UK access and membership to EU agencies following Brexit, Mr Corbyn argued that it makes no sense for the UK to abandon EU agencies and tariff-free trading rules and that negotiating to support individual EU agencies, rather than paying more to duplicate those agencies here, should be an option.
  • Mr Corbyn praised the Good Friday Agreement and reiterated that his party would not seek to undermine it with any Brexit negotiations.
  • During the Q&A session after the speech, Mr Corbyn denied that his party are proposing a second Brexit referendum.

Commenting on the speech ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said, “A customs union with the EU is a practical solution that would put businesses in the best possible position to compete after Brexit. We welcome the position set out by the Leader of the Opposition today that Labour will support a customs union with the EU and stay in important EU agencies.”

Also this afternoon David Lidington the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Cabinet Minister responsible for overseeing devolution consequences of EU exit delivered a Brexit speech at ADS member Airbus at their Broughton site. In his speech he outlined how Britain can be more united at home and stronger abroad following leaving the European Union. You can read his full speech here.