Remaining in the customs union would be a disaster for the UK, Labour’s trade spokesman has said, further confusing the party’s stance on Brexit. Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, said that staying in the customs bloc would leave the UK unable to strike free trade deals. His comments appeared to contradict Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, who has said that membership of the customs union should remain on the table. The party’s anti-Brexit wing also wants the UK to remain in the customs union and single market after 2019.
Members of Labour’s shadow cabinet are at loggerheads over whether Britain can hope to remain in the customs union when it leaves the EU, the Guardian can reveal. Barry Gardiner, the shadow trade secretary, has argued that the only option open to the UK would be a Turkey-style customs agreement, but claimed that such a deal would be “a disaster” as it would leave the UK in a weak position. However, the shadow Brexit and foreign secretaries, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry, have told senior Labour colleagues that Britain could negotiate a better deal than Turkey and should be trying to do so. They have said that negotiating a form of membership of the customs union, under which European countries negotiate trade deals collectively and have a common external tariff, must be kept on the table.
LABOUR was plunged into renewed infighting over Brexit today after senior figures rejected Jeremy Corybn’s call for Britain to quit the EU’S single market. Former frontbencher Chuka Umunna and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones insisted Britain should remain in the Brussels-run trade area after leaving the bloc in 2019. They spoke out after the Labour leader insisted at the weekend that his party was committed to a full break from the EU. One of his closest allies, shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner, went even further today by warning that staying in the single market would be a “disaster” for the country.
LABOUR’S splits on Brexit have continued to widen with no sign of the party coming together over Europe despite Jeremy Corbyn’s election success. In the latest sign of disagreement, Wales’s top politician today called for Britain to stay in the single market – just a day after the leader explicitly ruled it out. This year alone, Labour frontbenchers have proposed at least EIGHT distinct policies on Britain’s post-Brexit future. Here The Sun guides you through the wildly contradictory positions put forward by warring Labour bosses. Yesterday the party leader claimed it would be impossible to stay a member of the single market while leaving the EU.
Divisions have emerged at the top of Labour’s ranks yet again over its Brexit policies as Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on access to the EU’s single market was described as making “no sense at all” by the Welsh First Minister. The comments came after the Labour leader said over the weekend that Britain would have to leave the market because access was “inextricably linked” to membership of the bloc. Mr Corbyn also said the party had yet to decide is position on a future customs union arrangement. While Labour’s election manifesto vowed to focus on “retaining the benefits of the single market and customs union”, it was not explicit on whether Britain would actually remain inside the institutions.
A Labour government would take Britain out of the European single market were it in charge of negotiating Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed. The Labour leader said single market membership was “inextricably linked” to membership of the EU and that his party would instead seek tariff-free access to trade. Labour’s 2017 election manifesto pledged to focus on “retaining the benefits of the single market and the customs union” but was not explicit on whether Britain would actually remain inside the institutions.
The Labour Party is increasingly clear on its support for the UK to leave the Customs Union and Single Market – who’d have thought it would become a pro-Brexit Party? The power of a referendum hey? Shadow International Trade Secretary, Barry Gardiner has said: “You leave the Customs Union because only member states of the European Union are members of the Customs Union. “Other countries, like Turkey, have a separate Customs Union agreement. But the trouble with that is it gives you an asymmetrical relationship with the countries, the third party countries, that the EU does a deal with.
A TORY MP has told how he was converted from reluctant Remainer to strident Brexiteer by the “astoundingly arrogant” reaction of EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker to the referendum result. Ben Bradley, who at 27 has never known life outside the Brussels club, said the dictatorial response of senior eurocrats to Britain’s decision to quit had convinced him Brexit was the right choice. In an opinion piece the newly elected Mansfield MP, whose constituency voted overwhelmingly to quit the EU, revealed that during the referendum he had given half-hearted support to the Remain camp. He admitted he was far from enthused by the way the “uninspiring” Stronger In campaign was run and said Vote Leave was little better, but that learning more about how Europe works had convinced him the project is rotten.
Britain’s business minister said the government will discuss later this year how a transitional period after Brexit might work, a key demand for businesses worried about a cliff-edge exit at the end of two-year talks in March 2019. Many companies have urged the government to push the European Union to agree a clear and lengthy transitional arrangement to help them make investment decisions and continue the unfettered flow of British exports to the continent. When asked when the government would set out what kind of transitional arrangement it would be seeking, Greg Clark said: “During the autumn … and as the negotiations move forward, we hope from their initial discussion, then that’s the time to say more about that,” he said during an event in Birmingham.
Britain will be “truly global” with “wider horizons”, according to British Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who sought to rubbish claims that Brexit was an “inward looking” move. Fox said: “Britain wants the EU to succeed. There’ll be no closing off of relations, economic or otherwise, and no abdication of our responsibilities. “Continuity and stability will be our watchwords. But any who are tempted to see our exit from the EU as evidence of Britain looking inward should think again. “We’ve just chosen another path to embrace the wider horizons of a truly global Britain and as we contemplate our new place in the world we do so with renewed optimism and confidence acknowledging the vast opportunities that lie before us, especially when it comes to strengthening our connection with our single largest trading partner.”
LIAM Fox told Brexit doom-and gloom-mongers they are “dreaming” if they think they can halt our EU exit. As the International Monetary Fund cut UK growth forecasts for 2017, the Brexit-backing International Trade Secretary insisted the economy was “robust”. And he said that record employment and foreign investment had proved those predicting catastrophe after the Referendum completely wrong. It came as he once more insisted Britain would have to leave the EU single market and customs union at the end of March 2019. And he said the EU would be punishing its own people if it delayed a free trade deal with Brexit Britain.
ANGELA Merkel’s administration was today branded a shambles over Brexit as industry leaders warned 750,000 manufacturing jobs face the axe due to her negotiating stance. Political opponents ripped into the German chancellor, saying businesses were “very concerned” by her approach and bemoaning that in Berlin “nobody is in charge” of directing the divorce talks towards a good result. Mrs Merkel was accused of attempting to “humiliate” Britain by pushing for a punitive deal and of ignoring top industry figures who fear the economic fallout from such a strategy. The blistering broadside came from two senior figures in the German Free Democrats (FDP), which is currently set for a crucial role as kingmaker when the next coalition government is formed in September. Germany, along with other member states, has shaped Europe’s conditions for the ongoing divorce talks with the UK but has handed over control of all the heavy lifting to the Jean-Claude Juncker’s EU Commission.
The health service does not necessarily need extra funding to improve care and boost safety, the outgoing chief inspector of hospitals has said. Sir Mike Richards, who retires from the role with the Care Quality Commission on Friday, responded to calls for more cash for the service by saying: “There are a lot of things that can be done without more money.” The Health Foundation think tank has calculated that there is a £12 billion gap between what the NHS needs and what it will receive by 2020 under the Conservatives’ manifesto plans.
NHS England has launched a national review into schemes to divert patients away from A&E departments. According to the Daily Telegraph, the investigation is in response to the death of a 44-year-old man who was turned away from a Bristol A&E department while a pilot scheme to ease pressure was in place, and instead seen by a GP service. NHS England was unable to say whether its £1 million review had been launched before or after the death of David Birtwistle, who died of a pulmonary embolism in November two days after being diverted from the department.
Millions of British motorists may be owed compensation for overpriced cars, campaigners said yesterday, after an inquiry was confirmed into allegations of a cartel by leading German manufacturers. The European Commission is investigating BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen for allegedly colluding over emissions, engines, brakes and other components and technologies in secret meetings dating back to the 1990s. Almost one in three new cars registered in Britain was made by the German companies, amounting to about 800,000 vehicles last year and millions in total on British roads. Fines and compensation claims could eclipse the diesel emissions scandal that has cost VW about €25 billion worldwide.
Ministers will announce a diesel scrappage scheme within days amid last-minute government wrangling over plans to reduce air pollution. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, is expected to announce a “very, very targeted scheme” on scrappage, which some sources claimed would cost the taxpayer less than originally envisaged. He has also suggested that he is looking for new ways of testing the toxicity levels of diesel cars, declaring that the EU’s laboratory tests allow car manufacturers to “cheat the system”.
Ukip has lost control of the last local authority it had a majority on, after a councillor defected to the Conservatives. The party had previously held 28 of 55 seats on Thanet district council, but after Beverly Martin crossed the floor, it is now outnumbered. A coalition of Conservative, Labour and Independent councillors can now defeat the party if they work together. Ms Martin told the BBC she decided to leave Ukip after the party failed to make “significant change”. “We had the opportunity to be a flagship council, that is a very rare privilege and I really had enormous hopes that we would make significant changes on social issues, development and economic issues,” she said. “Frankly, we haven’t, not as Ukip.”
Controversial, taped confessions made by Diana, Princess of Wales, are to be broadcast for the first time after her sons’ decision to open up about her was deemed to have set a precedent. Peter Settelen, the princess’s voice coach, has sold the rights to the “dynamite” tapes, much of which has never been broadcast, to Channel 4. The tapes were never intended for public broadcast and since the princess’s death have been the subject of lengthy legal battles and accusations of huge betrayal. The Spencer family insisted that the footage belonged to them but the tapes were returned to Mr Settelen in 2004 after a lengthy dispute, headed by Earl Spencer.
Private videotapes recorded by Diana, Princess of Wales, in which she spoke candidly about her personal life are to be broadcast for the first time in a documentary next month. The tapes come from a series in which she spoke about her sex life with the Prince of Wales, and also claimed that her bodyguard was murdered for having a relationship with her. The Channel 4 documentary is by the director who made a similar film for the BBC ten years ago, only for it to be shelved, allegedly to avoid upsetting Prince Charles. The film uses tapes the princess made at Kensington Palace in 1992 and 1993 with a voice coach, Peter Settelen, an American actor based in the UK.
Britain is heading for “unprecedented” winter rainfall after the Met Office’s new super computer predicted records will be broken by up to 30 per cent. Widespread flooding has hit the UK in the past few years leading meteorologists to search for new ways to “quantify the risk of extreme rainfall within the current climate”. The Met Office’s new supercomputer has been crucial to understanding the risk of record rainfall by creating hundreds of realistic UK winter scenarios in addition to the record. Dr Vikki Thompson, lead author of the report, said: “Our computer simulations provided one hundred times more data than is available from observed records. Our analysis showed that these events could happen at any time and it’s likely we will see record monthly rainfall in one of our UK regions in the next few years.”
The UK is facing ‘unprecedented’ winter downpours, according to a new forecast by the Met Office. Record rainfall levels have a one in three chance of bringing flooding mayhem to at least one region of England each winter over the next 10 years. The agency used a new Cray XC40 supercomputer to simulate thousands of possible winters and assess the risk of extreme rainfall events. The analysis revealed an 8 per cent risk of record monthly rainfall in south east England in any given winter. When other regions of the country were also considered, the chances of at least one of them being swamped by a record deluge rose to 33 per cent.