Customs union debate in Commons on Thursday; Lords voted in support


"The route we're going for is leaving the customs union but ensuring that we don't put in place unnecessary barriers to our trade with the European Union", Justice Secretary David Gauke said on the BBC's "Andrew Marr Show" on Sunday.

A Downing Street source said Mrs May would continue to argue for Britain to leave the customs union, adding: "Government policy hasn't changed - we are leaving the customs union".

The Prime Minister visited the E&S's Queen Street offices as part of a visit to the Black Country, which also saw her stop off at Dudley firm Boss Design and meet with campaigners in Sedgley.

As a result May's senior advisers now privately concede that a U-turn could be inevitable with one reportedly telling a meeting last month that the prime minister and her top team "will not be crying into our beer" if they are forced to think again about cutting customs ties with the EU.

Media captionWhat is the EU customs union?

Cabinet minister Sajid Javid tweeted that the referendum gave "clear instructions" to leave the customs union and accused some of seeing it as a "kind of post-Brexit comfort blanket".

The vote is on an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which the Lords backed last week, to keep the option of a customs union on the table.

The current system allows EU countries to apply the same taxes on imports to goods from outside the union.

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The goods can then be moved to other countries within the bloc with no further tariffs.

A source familiar with the discussion told the paper: "The discussion focused on what to do if parliament votes to stay in a customs union".

The Prime Minister's spokesman played down its significance, saying Thursday's event was a "routine backbench business debate".

In February, Kerr was a signatory to an ERG letter calling for "full regulatory autonomy" insisting the the United Kingdom should not be a "rule taker without any substantive say in whatever Brussels decides".

If MPs also vote in favor of remaining in the customs union with the bloc, it could trigger a challenge to May's leadership from Brexit campaigners in the Conservative Party.

Questions on the Customs Union arise as the EU rejects the UK's proposals for the Irish border after Brexit.

Following the reports, angry ministers hit back last night, with Housing Secretary Sajid Javid tweeting that the British people had given "clear instructions" through the European Union referendum.

"With Brexit looking increasingly like a risky threat to jobs and the economy in this country, the people have a right to make their voices heard with a People's Vote on the terms of the final Brexit deal".

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