Boris issues new warning to May over quitting EU customs union

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Posted on May 29 2018 - 7:36pm by admin

In another warning to Prime Minister Theresa May following the Cabinet row over Britain’s future relationship with Brussels, the Foreign Secretary called for a full break in ties to the bloc.

Mr Johnson said in a newspaper article: “Now is our moment not to be less European – we can do a great free trade deal with the EU that will benefit both sides – but to be truly global again.”

His latest intervention followed his trade mission to South America last week in the hunt for new post-Brexit opportunities.

In his article, Mr Johnson said the time had come to create deals with the “dynamic countries” he visited.

After his trips to Peru, Argentina and Chile, he said: “Our Latin American partners are emphatic – if this is to work, we must come fully out of the EU customs union.”

Mr Johnson said that if the UK was to be a valid trading partner, “we must take back control – as the PM has said – of our tariff schedules and do deals that are unhindered and uncomplicated”.

Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon risked inflaming the row over future links with Brussels yesterday, claiming the Government would “sooner or later” have to concede that the UK must remain in a customs union.

Speaking after a meeting with the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, she said: “I was very clear with Michel Barnier that I wanted to see not just Scotland but the UK as a whole remaining within the single market.

“That’s the position the Scottish Government has taken all along. In my very, very strong view, it is in the interest of the whole of the UK to stay in the customs union, it [the UK Government] would be cutting off their nose to spite their face if they turned their back on that.”

The SNP leader said a customs union was important to prevent the return to a hard border in Northern Ireland, but added that without similar arrangements, Scotland could be left at a “competitive disadvantage”.

She said: “I think the only credible and sustainable option here is for the UK to remain within a customs union. It’s a question of whether they concede that now or are forced to concede that later.”

While Mrs May has ruled out keeping the UK in the single market and customs union after Brexit, Ms Sturgeon insisted that in this regard, the Government’s position was “unsustainable” and there was still “reason to be hopeful that is something that can be achieved”.

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