PM refuses to back down on Brexit plan to leave the EU customs union

Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to back down on her Brexit plan to leave the EU customs union.

Speaking at prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons, Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman asked if Mrs May was determined to proceed with her plan despite warnings from businesses.

The SNP Westminster economy spokeswoman said: “Outside a customs union with the EU, many UK businesses would face, in the Brexit secretary’s own words ‘complex and punitive rules of origin tariffs’.

“Given the prime minister’s aim for frictionless trade post-Brexit, will she confirm whether she intends to pursue a customs union with the EU?”

Mrs May responded: “Leaving the European Union means we will be leaving the single market. We will no longer be members of the single market or the customs union.

“We want to be able to sign and implement trade deals with other parts of the world, as part of an independent trade policy.

“We are looking forward to negotiations for a bespoke deal — a comprehensive free trade agreement — between the UK and the European Union for the future.

“We will be looking for as tariff-free and frictionless a trade agreement as possible.”