Oh dear. Today Jeremy Corbyn is expected to back ‘a’ customs union when Britain leaves the EU. To begin Labour’s Brexit blitz, Barry Gardiner was sent onto the airwaves to wax lyrical about Labour’s new pitch.
Q. Can you name a single leader or country that backs a deal like this?
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) February 26, 2018
The problem is that of all of Labour’s shadow cabinet – other than Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell – it’s Gardiner who has been the most critical of the customs union. Back in July, Gardiner helpful explained in the Guardian why remaining in ‘a’ customs union such as Turkey has would be a bad idea – saying it would ‘preclude’ the country from ‘making our own independent trade agreements with our five largest export markets outside the EU’:
‘Other countries such as Turkey have a separate customs union agreement with the EU. If we were to have a similar agreement, several things would follow: the EU’s 27 members would set the common tariffs and Britain would have no say in how they were set. We would be unable to enter into any separate bilateral free trade agreement. We would be obliged to align our regulatory regime with the EU in all areas covered by the union, without any say in the rules we had to adopt. And we would be bound by the case law of the ECJ, even though we would have no power to bring a case to the court.’
An inspired decision by Labour HQ…