Sir Keir says both customs options would fail

PUBLISHED: 11:19 13 May 2018

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer
Photo: PA / Stefan Rousseau

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer Photo: PA / Stefan Rousseau

PA Archive/PA Images

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer believes neither of the government’s customs solutions will succeed.

And Sir Keir launched an attack at the cabinet saying the squabbling between ministers was “farcical”.

He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I think we are in a farcical situation at the moment, nearly two years after the referendum the cabinet is fighting over two customs options neither of which frankly are workable, neither of which are acceptable to the EU.”

He added: “What we propose is a combination, on the one hand a comprehensive customs union, nobody credible suggests you can achieve no hard border (in Ireland) without it and also a strong single market relationship that hard wires the benefits of the single market into the future agreement. So we do have something very strong to say about the single market.”

And even environment secretary Michael Gove admitted that neither of the customs models being considered by the cabinet was “perfect”.

Pressed on whether foreign secretary Boris Johnson was right to brand the customs partnership option as “crazy”, Gove told the Marr Show: “Across government, across cabinet, there is agreement that neither of these two models is absolutely perfect.

“And with the new customs partnership, Boris pointed out that because it’s novel, because no model like this exists, there have to be significant question marks over the deliverability of it on time.”

He added: “It’s my view that the new customs partnership has flaws and they need to be tested.”

The environment secretary said he was against any extension of the current customs union, saying: “I don’t believe in an extension.”

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