LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s proposal for a customs partnership with the European Union after Brexit is “crazy”, overseas minister Boris Johnson mentioned, deepening divisions which can be difficult Prime Minister Theresa May.
Johnson, in Washington to attempt to win over U.S. President Donald Trump to the Iran nuclear deal, spoke to the Daily Mail newspaper so as to add his voice to an more and more bad-tempered debate over Britain’s future customs preparations.
Brexit campaigners have come out in opposition to what some say is May’s most popular possibility for future ties with the EU, throwing their weight behind one other proposal – one depending on expertise to make any new customs amenities as invisible as doable.
After business minister Greg Clark once more made the case for the customs partnership, which might successfully see Britain accumulate tariffs for the EU, Johnson responded by saying it was a “crazy system”.
“It’s totally untried and would make it very, very difficult to do free trade deals,” Johnson mentioned in an interview revealed in Tuesday’s Daily Mail.
“If you have the new customs partnership, you have a crazy system whereby you end up collecting the tariffs on behalf of the EU at the UK frontier.”
He mentioned that was “not taking back control” of Britain’s commerce coverage, legal guidelines, borders or cash, repeating his fundamental arguments used earlier than the referendum on EU membership in 2016.
May’s determination to depart the EU’s customs union, which units tariffs for items imported into the bloc, has turn out to be one of many fundamental flashpoints within the Brexit debate in Britain, pitting firms and pro-EU campaigners in opposition to a vocal group of hardline eurosceptic lawmakers.
The prime minister has to tread a wonderful line, aware of fears that any new customs infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland might reignite sectarian violence that has not been seen for many years.
A gathering of her so-called Brexit battle committee didn’t come up with a solution to the longer term customs preparations final week and ministers have mentioned that they’ll take their time to ensure they agree on the “right” answer.
Reporting by Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Kate Holton and Andrew Heavens