9

Green Party Leader calls for return to Customs Union option following House of Lords vote

Thursday April 19 2018

Green Party Leader Steven Agnew has called on the Prime Minister to reopen the issue of the UK’s membership of a Customs Union following two major Brexit votes in the House of Lords.

Peers have backed an amendment to the EU withdrawal bill that would force the government to explain what it has done to pursue remaining in a Customs Union.

They have also supported an amendment that will limit the power of ministers to discard regulations without the approval of Parliament.

“I have always said that the best outcome for the people of the UK is to remain within the Customs Union,” Mr Agnew said.

“This is of particular importance to people and businesses in Northern Ireland which must remain in a Customs Union if a hard border is to be avoided.

“Leaving the Customs Union would be devastating for Northern Ireland which relies hugely on its EU neighbour, the Republic of Ireland, for trade, exporting almost £3bn worth of goods across the border every year.

“Only a close and comprehensive Customs Union with the EU will protect Northern Ireland’s economy, its agricultural base and its peace process.

“It is increasingly clear that the people of the UK must be given the opportunity to vote in a referendum on any final deal. What is emerging is not what citizens voted for and they should have the final say on a process that will affect their futures so profoundly.”