Labour to stage Commons Brexit ambush as Cabinet customs deadlock continues

Posted On: 
15th May 2018

Labour is to stage a Commons ambush in a bid to force the Government to publish secret papers on its plans for a customs deal with Brussels after Brexit.

EU and UK flags The Cabinet is deadlocked over what kind of customs deal the UK should strike with Brussels.
Credit: 
PA Images

The move comes as Theresa May's Brexit war Cabinet once again failed to reach an agreement on what type of trading arrangement they want with the EU in the future.

The 11-strong group of senior ministers met for around an hour and a half in the Commons, and heard presentations from David Lidington and David Davis on the two options under consideration, a customs partnership and so-called "maximum facilitation".

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However, they appear to be no closer to deciding which one to propose in negotiations with Brussels. 

In the Commons tomorrow, Labour will use ancient parliamentary rules to force a binding vote which could see ministers having to hand over all the papers presented to the Brexit war Cabinet on the economic effects of both options.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: "The Government’s Brexit strategy is in complete and utter deadlock.

"Nearly two years on from the referendum ministers have still yet to agree what our future customs and trading relationship with Europe will look like after Brexit. Instead, the Prime Minister has wasted months pursing her two fatally flawed customs options and presiding over a government that is too busy arguing with itself to negotiate for Britain.

"There is a majority in Parliament, business and the trade union movement that supports Labour’s call for a comprehensive customs union with the EU after Brexit.

"If Theresa May is too weak to take that decision, then she should give Parliament the information to let it decide."

PRISONER

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake of the pro-EU Best For Britain campaign hit out at the Cabinet's failure to reach an agreement on the customs question.

"This is just kicking the can down the road yet again," he said. "At some point we are going to run out of road.  

"The Prime Minister was once thought to be decisive. Those days are long gone. Now she looks like a prisoner of the Brexiteers in her own party."