Britain 'will not stay in customs union' - United Kingdom government

Saul Bowman
April 24, 2018

But the cross-party amendment said it should continue to have effect, while ensuring that ultimate power remained in the hands of British judges.

Lord Keen warned that to incorporate the whole of the charter into United Kingdom law would do "serious damage" to the constitutional settlement post-Brexit.

"I fear that the Government is seeking to make an exception because the Government is suspicious of the very concept of fundamental rights", he said.

Peer David Pannick argued that rights for children, the elderly and the disabled would be hit if the charter was dumped.

The vote amounts to the third major defeat for the Prime Minister over her flagship Brexit bill in less than a week. It was in the Tory manifesto and Downing Street reiterated this stance on Monday. We may have been the masters once, but not now.

The charter, which is separate to the European Convention on Human Rights, sets out a range of civil, political and social rights for EU citizens.

Who supports remaining in the customs union?

Theresa May's government faced their first defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords last week when peers voted in favour staying in the customs union.


Peers voted last week by big majorities to keep open the option of staying in the EU Customs Union and to maintain protections for workers, consumers and the environment.

Eurosceptic Conservative MPs have told Sky News they expect the amendments from the Lords to be reversed, stating it would be a matter of confidence in the Government. It is about the type of country we want to be and the values we want to champion.

Lord Pannick, who won the Article 50 case against the Government, said that to exclude a number of important European Union rights from domestic law would lead to a lack of certainty and continuity, providing a "recipe for confusion" after Brexit.

"This vote is yet another signal to ministers that their approach to Brexit is flawed and that they need to think again".

The battle over customs rules is likely to reach a climax in a Commons vote as early as next month.

"The Charter of Fundamental Rights was never the source of rights in the United Kingdom - it simply reaffirmed rights that already existed in EU law and the EU (Withdrawal) Bill will convert this EU law into United Kingdom law".

Thursday's vote on customs union membership in the House of Commons will not be binding but it will give an indication of how many Conservatives are willing to defy the government on the issue.

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