Remaining in a future customs union with the EU after Brexit appears to have been left on the table by the Government in correspondence between the Chancellor and the chair of an influential group of MPs.
Treasury select committee head Nicky Morgan wrote to Chancellor Philip Hammond last month to clarify, among other things, evidence he gave to MPs regarding the future end state of the UK’s relationship with the EU.
“I offer you the opportunity, should you wish to take it, to explicitly rule out the UK participating in a customs union with the EU as part of its end-state relationship,” Morgan wrote.
In a statement today, Morgan claims that Hammond’s response does not explicitly rule a customs union of some sort.
While Hammond wrote that because the UK will no longer be an EU member state, it will not be part of the current EU customs union, he added that “the UK will need to seek a new customs arrangement with the EU that facilitates the freest and most frictionless trade possible in good between the UK and the EU, and allows us to forge new trade relationships with our partners in Europe and around the world.”
Morgan says: “It was widely thought that being in a long-term customs union with the EU had been ruled out by the Government. But the Chancellor’s letter confirms that this is not the case.
“It is vital that the Cabinet reach agreement on these central questions about the UK’s future relationship with the EU, as a matter of urgency.”