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Theresa May insists Britain WILL leave customs union post-Brexit

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | Politics | Published:

The Prime Minister was speaking during a visit to the Express & Star headquarters in Wolverhampton today

Theresa May has reaffirmed her commitment to Britain leaving the EU customs union.

In an exclusive interview with the Express & Star, the Prime Minister said the Government's position on the issue would not change.

Labour has called for the UK to join a new customs union after Brexit, saying it would leave the current one but negotiate a treaty afterwards that would 'do the work of the customs union'.

Mrs May, who has made leaving the customs union central to her Brexit plans, said being a member would leave Britain unable to negotiate crucial free trade deals with the rest of the world.

The Prime Minister visited the Express & Star's Queen Street offices as part of a visit to the Black Country, which also saw her stop off at Dudley firm Boss Design and meet with campaigners in Sedgley.

Following her visit to the Express & Star headquarters, Mrs May was warmly greeted by crowds outside.

Supporters took pictures on their phones and one man even blew her a kiss.

WATCH: Theresa May warmly greeted in Wolverhampton

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Theresa May greets crowds outside the Express & Star office in Wolverhampton
Members of the public wave goodbye to Prime Minister Theresa May, as she leaves following a visit to the Express and Star in Wolverhampton
Sealed with a kiss - This man blows a kiss to Theresa May as her car drives off in Wolverhampton

She said it was vital that Britain has 'as frictionless border with the EU as possible' once it leaves the EU, but added: "We also want to negotiate our own free trade deals around the rest of the world.

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"You can't be in the customs union and have your own free trade deals. So we want to come out of the customs union."

She added: "We need to find out ways that we can continue to trade across borders, and of course deliver on our commitment that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland."

The Government is negotiating what Britain's customs arrangement will be like post-Brexit. Parliament is set to hold a non-binding vote on the customs union on Thursday.

Last week, the Government suffered defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords, when peers voted in favour of staying in the customs union.

The current system allows EU countries to apply the same taxes on imports to goods from outside the union.

It means when goods have cleared customs in one country, they can be shipped to others in the union without additional tariffs being imposed.

Supporters of the customs union say it would help to keep an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Earlier in the day Mrs May visited a furniture company as part of the Tories’ local election campaign.

The Prime Minister met machinists and other workers at Boss Design, posing for a selfie with technician upholsterer Derek Whitehouse at the company’s factory.

Boss Design manufactures and supplies furniture for commercial use in the overseas and home markets, including the presenters’ seats currently used on the set of Match Of The Day.

The 47-year-old, who has worked for the firm for more than two decades, told reporters: “She briefly asked me how long I had been here and asked me about the process of the work.”

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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