Labour peers pile on misery for government

PUBLISHED: 17:38 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:38 11 September 2018

Labour peers have vowed to fight the government in the Lords
Photo: PA

Labour peers have vowed to fight the government in the Lords Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Labour will fight the government in the Lords over plans to take Britain out of a customs union with the EU post-Brexit.

In a brutal speech Lord Grantchester said a “trading bloc is inherently more powerful than an isolated nation state” and branded it the “greatest missed opportunity” in the government’s Trade Bill.

The criticism came during second reading of the proposed legislation, which will make some of the changes needed to enable the UK to implement an independent trade policy after the break with Brussels.

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The Bill has already been through the House of Commons where Theresa May narrowly saw off a rebel Tory move that could have forced her to try to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU.

Lord Grantchester said: “One of the very myths pedalled by this government is that the UK is better off outside a customs union with the EU.

“A customs union could allow for frictionless trade with the EU and offers the best possible basis for dealing successfully with the Irish border issue.

“It could also pave the way for access to over 50 trade agreements with third countries.”

He added: “A customs union with the UK at front and centre is a solution for our future trading policy.

“A trading bloc is inherently more powerful than an isolated nation state.”

He added: “This Bill is a missed opportunity to prepare the UK for a new chapter in our trading history.”

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