Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has claimed that his negotiations with the Conservatives to push for a super-soft Brexit are at risk of crumbling because government ministers want a trade deal with the United States.
After Theresa May’s Brexit deal was voted down for the third time in the House of Commons, the prime minister decided to hold talks with the Opposition in an attempt to break the impasse, a move criticised by Brexiteers who accused her of “subcontracting” Brexit to “known Marxist” Jeremy Corbyn.
‘No Chance Whatsoever’: Democrat Speaker Pelosi Contradicts Trump, Slams UK-U.S. Brexit Trade Deal https://t.co/QlVyQ5RA1B
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 18, 2019
As a result, the shadow cabinet and Government ministers have been holding talks for the past two weeks, with the party and Mr Corbyn pushing for a regulatory customs union with the EU and access to the Single Market — which would include the uncontrolled and unvetted freedom of movement for the bloc’s half a billion citizens.
Speaking at an event this week, Mr Corbyn said that talks were not progressing towards agreement of a super-soft Brexit, saying, “The Government doesn’t appear to be shifting the red lines because they’ve got a big pressure in the Tory party that actually wants to turn this country into a deregulated, low-tax society which will do a deal with Trump. I don’t want to do that.”
Labour Party sources have told The Sun that the main obstacle to softening Brexit and agreeing a customs union — where the UK would maintain the same trade policies and tariffs as the EU — is international trade secretary Liam Fox, who earlier warned that regulatory alignment with the EU would kill any future bilateral free trade deal, including with the United States.
Fox Warns Against Free Trade Killer Customs Union Where EU Would ‘Trade’ UK Market Like Commodity https://t.co/soRxlfE0Wn
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 9, 2019
Mr Fox had warned that being forced to apply the EU’s Common Customs Tariff (CCT) would “stymie the UK’s ability to open markets around the world.” He added that under a customs union, post-Brexit Britain would be subject to an EU trade policy that it would have no say over.
In December 2018, the U.S.’s ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson said that the trade deal between the two countries “doesn’t look like it would be possible” if MPs agree to Mrs May’s EU-approved Withdrawal Agreement.
While the U.S. administration has since said it was continuing work on a “fair, balanced, and reciprocal trade with the UK” and confirmed that one will be done, President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton questioned last month why the UK would want to stay closely aligned to the EU, saying, “I don’t understand why you would want to get out of the EU and not be able to set your own rules.
“That’s what independence means and that’s what the President wants to do. He thinks that the EU rules discriminate against American trade, and he wants a free, fare, and reciprocal trade with Great Britain.”