Customs union restricts deals

Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley MP.
Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley MP.

There is a condition sweeping Britain which even our wonderful NHS can’t cure. It is called ‘Brexit fatigue’.

Day after day, night after night, week after week, and now year after year, our Tory government fails to sort out a shambles of its own making.

The political parties, including mine, and the nation is deeply divided. Such divisions need to be healed, but don’t hold your breath.

Now Theresa May has made a start by bringing in my leader Jeremy Corbyn in the hope of reaching a deal which allows us to leave the EU by the end of June.

My view has always been that we must honour the result of the 2016 referendum in which 60 per cent of my Blyth Valley constituents voted Leave.

Given the fluid nature of Brexit, as an MP it is not always easy to vote on these matters. It’s complicated.

If people are not going to honour the result of the referendum and it was again put to the public vote, and the result is to remain with the same percentage as it was to leave, would that be fair? I would say not.

Unlike many of my comrades on the Labour Left, I do not believe in staying in the Customs Union because effectively that means still being in the EU and the UK will still have to contribute to the EU budget, and all the rest that goes with it.

In a single customs union, the 27-member states all agree to charge the same import charge duties and allow free trade between themselves.

This means the relationship between members and the outside world has already been settled. If the UK remains in the customs union, it would restrict its ability to negotiate its own trade deals outside the union.

The UK would face tariffs and other non-tariff barriers, such as rules of origin checks, which would mean still more bureaucracy.

But there may have to be a compromise.

What do you think? What a fine mess they’ve gotten us into.