Bow Group Senior Patron, John Redwood MP, lampoons Labour's Brexit stance

The senior pro-Brexit politician ripped into a group of Labour MPs attempting to sway the party line to keep Britain inside the EU single market and customs union.

Labour has challenged Theresa May to hold a vote on customs union membership in order to solve "the issue once and for all."

But Mr Redwood dismissed the challenge, telling the BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It’s the same group of Remain MPs, it’s a group of rebel Labour MPs who didn’t agree with the Labour party line on the two previous occasions when we had this vote.

"Remainers forced their party into a reconsideration of their manifesto. We’ll have to wait and see."

The Brexiteer also took a dig at Labour's "absurd" Brexit trade policy, branding it a "contradiction" to the aims of Brexit.

Mr Redwood continued: "So far Labour has abstained on this issue and their manifesto made very clear they wanted an independent trade policy for the United Kingdom which will be quite incompatible with staying in the customs union.

"What these people argue is a contradiction because they say our trade will be dreadfully damaged if we had to conduct it on World Trade Organisation’s terms with the rest of Europe.

"But they want our trade to be conducted on WTO’s terms with the rest of the world – which is the bigger proportion of our trade and the faster-growing part of our trade – which demonstrates their argument is an absurd contradiction."

Mr Redwood also dismissed claims the PM is considering surrendering her plans for the customs union to avoid a series of defeats in Parliament over the issue.

The UK will not be able to strike its own free-trade deals with countries around the world if it remains a member of the customs union, which is a point of contention for many Government Ministers.

Mrs May is seeking to minimise friction to trade between the UK and the European Unionfollowing Brexit, while also avoiding a hard border with Ireland.

Tensions surrounding the question of the customs union have increased sharply since the Government was defeated heavily in the House of Lords last week.

The Lords voted in favour of an amendment to the EU withdrawal Bill which seeks to maintain the possibility of Britain staying in the customs union.


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Wednesday, May 2, 2018