Liam Fox: Post Brexit Customs Union Is Not Wanted

25 April 2019, 13:06

Dr Fox said a customs union would prevent the UK from varying its tariffs.
Dr Fox said a customs union would prevent the UK from varying its tariffs. Picture: PA

One MP says an EU customs union after Brexit means the UK could kiss goodbye to any realistic chance of an independent trade policy.

The International Trade Secretary said a customs union with the EU after Brexit could leave the UK without representation.

Addressing Parliament Dr Fox said:" The Government's intention as provided for in the political declaration is to secure a tariff-free trading relationship with our European partners alongside an ambitious independent trade policy with the rest of the world.

"A customs union would prevent the UK from varying its tariffs and could leave the UK subject - without representation - to the policy of an entity over which MPs would have no democratic control."

But that's a change from Mr Fox's views in 2012 when he wrote an article for the Mail on Sunday setting out his vision for Brexit: he thought the “best way forward” would be an economic partnership “involving a customs union and a single market in goods and services."

Tory MP Philip Hollobone said: "If we were to be part of the EU customs union after Brexit, the United Kingdom as the world's fifth biggest economy could kiss goodbye to any realistic chance of an independent trade policy.

"For this very good reason being a member of the customs union was ruled out in the last Conservative Party manifesto. Were this to become policy, would not the Secretary of State and his entire ministerial team be honour-bound to resign?"

Mr Fox responded: "It is very clear we do not want to see a customs union being put in place."

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