Labour’s position on the UK being within “a customs union” (but not “the customs union”) needs to be challenged. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • As part of their requirements for a customs union, the EU forbids state aid to UK industries such as the steel industry. Do you therefore accept that a Labour government will not be allowed to intervene in UK industries?
  • In order to have free access to the Single Market, you may also need to accept freedom of movement. Would you accept unlimited EU migration into the UK?
  • The US, Japan, Australia and others have confirmed that they are keen to strike trade deals with the UK. Do you intend to tell them that we are not interested?
  • The EU has demanded that we continue to pay into the EU each year during the transition period. Do you accept that these payments will continue forever and are good value for money? What would customs checks cost? If you do not know, then how can you say this is good value for money?
  • When the EU decides to change regulations, do you accept that that UK will simply be obliged to follow?
  • Given that the UK will not be part of the EU and will not be in the Single Market, do you accept that we will have no right to shape these regulations? If you seek a right to shape these regulations, how will that be any different from being a member of the EU?
  • If the EU asked us to:

– allow the EU to export to us with no tariffs or checks;
– allow the EU to stop us from making any regulations or adopting any standards which do not suit them;
– allow the EU to subsidise their own industries, but to ensure that no UK industry is subsidised;
– accept unlimited migration from the EU, whilst accepting that UK citizens will have no right to work In the EU.

Would you accept this? When it is us doing the asking, in Labour’s scenario, why do you think the EU will accept?