On Sunday, Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, said that she could be trusted to deliver Brexit. However, she said that it could not be achieved without compromises on all sides — which is probably a warning to cabinet ministers who are deeply divider regarding the future customs arrangements.
Last Tuesday, the divisions inside her government regarding the issue on customs were laid bare when Boris Johnson, the Foreign Minister, said that the proposals for a customs partnership with the European Union after Britain withdraws from the bloc were “crazy”.
The decision of May to withdraw from the customs union of the European Union, which sets tariffs for goods that are imported into the bloc, has become one of the main flashpoints in the Brexit discussions, putting pro-EU campaigners and companies against eurosceptics in parliament.
The said issue has all but stalled the Brexit talks in Brussels and politics in the United Kingdom whereas pro-Brexit lawmakers have lined up to denounce what is said to be the preferred plan of May.
The customs partnership would see the United Kingdom essentially collect tariffs on behalf of the European Union in order to keep the trade with the bloc flowing freely.
The Sunday Telegraph said that at least a dozen of the 28 ministers in the cabinet of PM May were planning to prevent her proposal.
However, in the Sunday Times, May wrote: “You can trust me to deliver.”
There is an alternative proposal that is called “maximum facilitation” which depends on future technology to make sure that trade continues easily even after Brexit, is also being considered by the members of her cabinet.
However, the European Union has dismissed both the proposals.
PM May said that she had placed various options forward, but she emphasised that the United Kingdom would leave the customs union of the European Union so that the country could establish its own independent trade policy.
She said: “Of course, the details are incredibly complex and, as in any negotiation, there will be compromises.”
However, she said that she was setting out a path to deliver the Brexit that the people had voted for.
in the Sunday Times article, she stated: “I will need your help and support to get there.
“And in return, my pledge to you is simple: I will not let you down.”
Michael Gove, the Environment Minister and a prominent “Leave” supporter in the referendum campaign of 2016, said that neither of the proposals was absolutely perfect.
On Sunday, he told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC: “The new customs partnership has flaws and they need to be tested.” He added that ministers were examining both the options.
Keir Starmer, the Brexit spokesperson of Labour, said that the government was in a “farcical situation.”
On the same programme, Starmer stated: “Nearly two years after the referendum the cabinet is fighting over two customs options, neither of which frankly are workable, neither of which are acceptable to the EU, and if either of which were put to the vote in parliament, they probably wouldn’t carry a majority.”
He said that a comprehensive customs union with the European Union was a necessary minimum in order to avoid creating a hard border between the Irish Republic and the British ruled Northern Ireland.
Starmer stated: “What we propose is a combination: on the one hand a comprehensive customs union (…) and also a strong single market relationship that hardwires the benefits of the single market into the future agreement.”
In her article, May said that any of the deals would honour the agreements that were reached in the Northern Ireland peace process, which could be risked by the return a border controls.
She stated: “This means there can be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.”