26/02/2018

MPs Urged To Support Plan For Customs Union With EU After Brexit

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on MPs to support plans for a new customs union with the European Union after Brexit.

In a speech in relation to his approach to Brexit he said it would avoid the need for a "hard border" in NI and ensure free-flowing trade for business.

He also accused the Conservatives of having "no economic plan and no plan for Brexit" and said that under Labour there would be no "scapegoating of migrants, no setting one generation against another and no playing off the nations of the UK".

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry said the commitment to a Customs Union from Jeremy Corbyn is necessary but not sufficient to protect the UK's current and future economic prosperity.

He said: "The arguments for the UK having its own independent trade policy are erroneous. It is much better to preserve existing significant trading relationships with Europe and work through the EU to improve trade with other world markets. To be clear, this has to be a Customs Union, not some form of looser customs arrangement.

"Regrettably, there remains a lack of clarity in relation to the need for continued participation in the Single Market. This, and the essential adherence to the four fundamental freedoms, is even more central to economic opportunities and prosperity.
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"For Northern Ireland, a fresh Custom Union would go a long way to avoiding a hard border in Ireland, but regulatory differences would require some form of physical checks. Continued participation in the Single Market would not only protect the Good Friday Agreement, existing North-South co-operation and the all-island economy, but future proof our regional economy."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA said: "I welcome Jeremy Corbyn's announcement this morning, it is the first step in the right direction by the Labour leadership. I met the Labour Leader last week in London to discuss this very issue and made the case very strongly to him that Labour should build on its peace process legacy by ensuring that the layered complexities of our political settlement are preserved, not destroyed. The clear and positive change in policy from our sister party is a welcome development. The Labour Leader must continue to take a stand against Theresa May and her drift toward a hard Brexit/hard border result in Ireland.

"There is still a long way to travel to protect the North’s interests. There is a clear and concerted campaign by individuals in Britain to undermine the Good Friday Agreement in the pursuit of an aggressive Brexit that will bring back a hard border. Those individuals must be called out by their parties."

(CD/MH)

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