The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Confusion after Rudd suggests customs union position may shift
Home Secretary Amber Rudd was forced to offer a clarification after appearing to suggest the Government’s stance on leaving the customs union after Brexit could shift.
Her comments were made as MPs in the chamber debated whether the UK should stay in the EU customs union and agreed the Government should include the option in Brexit negotiations.
Speaking ahead of the non-binding vote during a lunch with journalists, Ms Rudd suggested Cabinet ministers were “still working” on the position – despite Theresa May’s vow to leave it.
“I’m committed to the Government’s position, which to some extent we are still working on,” she said.
“We still have a few discussions to be had in a really positive, consensual, easy way among some of my Cabinet colleagues in order to arrive position.”
Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said Ms Rudd’s statements meant the prime minister should look again at staying in the customs union.
“Amber Rudd appears to have let slip that discussions around the Cabinet table about negotiating a customs union with the EU have not in fact concluded,” he said.
“If that is so, then the Prime Minister should rethink her approach and listen to the growing chorus of voices in parliament and in business that believe she has got it wrong on a customs union.”
Ms Rudd later tweeted a clarification to her original comments, which she said were intended to avoid “getting into ongoing Cabinet discussions about our future trading relationship” .
“I should have clearer,” she said.
“Of course when we leave the EU we will be leaving the customs union.” at a final been