Brexiteers’ Customs Bill amendments accepted by government. The amendments relate to trading across UK-EU borders after Brexit
Theresa May has launched crisis talks with Brexit rebels at Chequers – just hours after Donald Trump’s visit – after furious Tory MPs blasted her “dead in the water” White Paper outlining the Government’s EU negotiation plan. Tory MPs Edward Leigh, John Penrose and Cheryl Gillan were among backbenchers summoned to Chequers by Theresa May for a 45-minute summit.
Theresa May has been accused of „caving in” to Conservative Brexiteers after agreeing to their changes to a key piece of legislation. Critics said accepting the amendments to the Customs Bill meant the prime minister’s recently announced trade proposals were „dead in the water”.
But Mrs May said this was „absolutely wrong” and that the changes were „consistent” with her plan.
The amendments relate to trading across UK-EU borders after Brexit.
The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 but has yet to agree how its final relationship with the bloc will work.
After a meeting of the cabinet at Chequers, last week the government published a White Paper setting out its preferred trading relationship with the EU.
The proposals, including a „common rule book” between the two sides, have angered many Tory MPs. And they were set to show their displeasure by trying to amend the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill, known as the Customs Bill.
What the amendments mean
Downing Street now says it will accept the four amendments – one of which could stop the UK from collecting tariffs for the EU, part of Theresa May’s Chequers plan, unless the rest of the EU reciprocates.
Another change could make the EU’s „backstop” on customs impossible by ruling out a border in the Irish Sea.
The other two amendments would ensure the UK was out of the EU’s VAT regime and require new legislation if the government wanted to form a customs union with the EU.
Theresa May’s spokesman said the changes were „consistent” with the proposals put forward by the government so far.
But Conservative MP Anna Soubry said the prime minister’s Chequers plan had now been „wrecked by caving in to the hard, no-deal Brexiteers”.
Another Tory MP, Heidi Allen, said the amendments „fundamentally undermine the Chequers proposal”.