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Withdrawal wish list

DEAL BREAKER: Opinion is divided over the government’s Brexit strategy
DEAL BREAKER: Opinion is divided over the government’s Brexit strategy

LABOUR OUTLINES ITS POSITION ON BRITAIN LEAVING THE EUROPEAN UNION by BARRY GARDINERLabour MP for Brent North and shadow secretary of state for international trade THERE were 15 important amendments which the House of Lords made to the original Europe­an Union (Withdrawal) bill, but in reality, only two of these were mission critical. The first is the amendment to give parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal. It is strange that so many politicians who claimed that the UK need­ed to leave the European Union in order to return sovereignty to the UK parliament have now defini­tively voted to deny parliament that very sovereign control over the most important constitutional de­cision in 50 years. The second is the amendment on the Customs Union, an agreement important for businesses and their supply chains that would remove any tariffs or quotas on goods crossing the border between the EU and the UK. Labour has set out its position in support of jobs and the economy and is backed by both the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the TUC. The government have ruled out a New Customs Union as they want to do an independent Free Trade Agreement with US president Donald Trump – good luck with that. And Europe has ruled out both of the government’s proposed alternatives as contrary to the need to keep an infrastructure-free border between the two parts of Ireland. The final amendment that has been much publi­cised is whether the UK should join the single market via the Norway model of the European Economic Area (EEA). Labour’s position is that we need to have access to the single market to give the nec­essary alignment of things like air safety and food standards regulations, but we must respect the ref­erendum result. The EEA option would not…

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