Downing Street must seek Parliamentary vote to leave Customs Union

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The Westminster Government has no mandate to take the UK countries out of the Customs Union, and must seek Parliamentary approval before doing so, Plaid Cymru has said.

Jonathan Edwards, who is Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Europe, and a Plaid Cymru MP, has responded to the Westminster Government’s assertion that the UK will “categorically” leave the Customs Union, saying they have no mandate to make that assertion and called for a Parliamentary vote.

The Customs Union allows goods to be traded freely with more than 80 countries around the world. If every UK country were to leave the Customs Union, customs checks would be necessary on the island of Ireland.

The assertion by Downing Street contradicts previous statements that there will be no hard border in Ireland, and contradicts the agreement reached between UK’s negotiators and their European counterparts before Christmas, which allowed negotiations to move to the second phase.

Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s MP and Vice-Chair of the APPG on Europe, Jonathan Edwards, said:

“If you leave the Customs Union – you have a hard border. It is as simple as that.

“The Westminster Government has no mandate to take Wales or any other UK country out of the Customs Union and therefore must get Parliamentary approval before doing so.

“They told the people of Ireland that there would be no hard border on the island and they told the European Union’s negotiators the same, but categorically ruling out staying in any sort of Customs Union after Brexit means, categorically, that there will be a hard border on the island of Ireland and that business and industry will face tariffs on imported and exported goods.

“Parliaments are there to hold governments to account – they are a core part of our democracy. Theresa May cannot bypass democracy. Leaving the Customs Union must be put to a vote in each of the UK’s national Parliaments.”

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