Brexit: 'UK will not be staying in the customs union'

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She added: "I'm delighted with the launch of the campaign for a people's vote on the final Brexit deal in Aylesbury".

It reduces administrative and financial trade barriers, such as customs checks and charges, and boosts economic co-operation.

Though the looming Commons vote on a pro-customs union motion would be a symbolic, non-binding one, it has the potential to deepen Tory wounds on Brexit.

Former Cabinet minister John Whittingdale told BBC Radio 4's The Westminster Hour that defeats like the one the Government suffered last week in the Lords over the customs union played into the EU's hands.

Image: Remember Vote Leave's call to "take back control"?

Among Leave voters, just 12 per cent think Britain is better off economically in Europe, while a quarter of these voters (25 per cent) think we should continue to be part of the Single Market. It was in the Tory manifesto and Downing Street reiterated this stance on Monday.

He tweeted: "British people gave politicians clear instructions through European Union referendum".

Unsurprisingly, the figures showed a split between those who voted Leave and those who voted Remain in the referendum.

Leaving the customs union would mean Britain can negotiate its own free trade deals with non-EU countries. His euroskeptic cabinet colleague, Liam Fox, the worldwide trade secretary, is also a passionate advocate for leaving European Union common tariffs and commercial policies.

Downing Street sources insisted there would be no backsliding over quitting the customs union with Brussels after reports that the Prime Minister was ready to take a softer line.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt also said that PM's position on the customs union had been consistent.

The Irish border is a key element of their case.

Such a U-turn would be popular with business leaders and go a long way to resolving Mrs May's difficulties in dealing with the Northern Ireland border issue.

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at a news conference to mark the end of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Marlborough House in London on April 20, 2018. Time is running out for negotiations to reach a deal on the terms of Brexit and a framework for the future trade agreement by October.

MPs will be giving their verdict on one of the key tenets of the PM's Brexit strategy. It is coming from the pro-Brexit section of the party.

However, plans to follow through with this commitment were defeated in the House of Lords earlier this week and ten Conservative MPs have already signed an amendment to the government's Trade bill which could force a rethink.

There is no suggestion at this stage that Number 10 is encouraging such thinking about the upcoming parliamentary battles.

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