UK’s Labour leader backs permanent customs union with EU

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, has voiced his support for a permanent customs union with the European bloc after Brexit.
Britain’s Labour opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech on Brexit at the National Transport Design Centre, Coventry University, Coventry,

Speaking at Coventry University in London on Monday, Corbyn accused Theresa May’s Conservative government of having “no economic plan and no plan for Brexit,” adding that with Labour in power there would be no “scapegoating of migrants.”

Great Britian is home to over a million Polish expats, who account for the largest foreign community in the country. According to a Companies House register, Poles run over 30,000 UK companies.

“We have long argued that a customs union is a viable option for the final deal,” Corbyn said as he spoke in favour of a new customs agreement with the EU at the end of the planned two-year transition period after Great Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

He added 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.”

“Labour would seek a final deal that gives full access to European markets and maintains the benefits of the single market and the customs union… with no new impediments to trade and no reduction in rights, standards and protections,” Corbyn said.

Observers said that a cross-party alliance was possible between Labour and Tory MPs who oppose the government’s plans to withdraw from the customs union with the EU after Brexit, the IAR news agency reported. The question whether to remain in the customs union could be put to the vote in parliament, which albeit non-binding, could send the message that May is incapable of managing Brexit, IAR added.

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