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Even some Remainers don’t believe the UK should stay in the customs union if it is leaving Brussels political institutions, with Labour’s Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner describing such a move as a “disaster”.
Since making that claim, Labour’s position has changed, and the party now wants to keep the UK in a customs agreement with the EU.
Changing our terms of trade to hit manufacturing communities across the North and Midlands hard is not a responsible way for Parliamentarians to behave and it is deeply unfair to those whose local manufacturing jobs would be hit.
Fourth, and perhaps most important of all is our responsibility to defend the Northern Ireland peace process.
That is why it was the overwhelming conclusion of committee chairs – including those who voted leave and who voted remain, supporters and opponents of a customs union – that backbench MPs should get the chance of an early constructive debate and vote on this crucial issue, not bound by the party whips, but informed by committee evidence instead.
As two of those chairs, we both believe the case for a customs union is overwhelming - for the sake of British manufacturing, international trade, smooth borders and Northern Ireland peace.
Some Ministers hope that new technology will provide a frictionless alternative to a customs union.
But whilst we agree that more customs declarations could be done online in advance, evidence given to six different Commons committees shows that this won’t be sufficient to avoid all border infrastructure or checks and still won’t prevent the burdensome form filling and rules of origin checks.
The people in our negotiation do not seem that motivated by the issue, with very few highlighting future trade deals as a reason for leaving the EU.
From apples to aerospace, Yorkshire woollens to Scottish salmon, Britain does more than £236bn of export trade with European Union countries every year.
“Just in time” production and retailing, where companies hold less stock, and supply chains run across borders, makes even small delays costly.
With just six months to go before the Brexit deal needs to be concluded, delays to the customs and trade legislation mean we are running out of time for Parliament to help to shape the negotiations based on the evidence we hear and before the deal is done.
Yet many of our back bench committees have forensically gathered evidence on different Brexit options and the practical implications.
And we have heard from both leave and remain voters from the referendum who agree.