To solve the contradictions of its Brexit policy - namely leaving the customs union while maintaining an open border with Ireland - the UK government’s search for magical ‘creative’ solutions makes them sound like they want to “put Harry Potter on the border”, the Leader of Labour’s MEPs told today’s European Parliament Brexit debate.
Richard Corbett MEP, Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament, said:
“The draft guidelines of the Council and the draft resolution of the Parliament cannot be a surprise to the UK government. They both respond to the ambiguities and contradictions of the government’s stated positions.
“The biggest contradiction of all is wanting frictionless trade while leaving the customs union and the single market rules which are precisely the tools that enable trade to be frictionless. To abandon those tools means trade barriers. The government’s own leaked figures predict a loss of at least 4.5% of GDP would result from this. No wonder they wanted to keep those figures secret.
“And when it comes to the Irish border, we are all waiting with bated breath to hear from the British government how on earth you can turn that into a customs border without having customs controls. Electronic wizardry? Sounds like they want to put Harry Potter on the border.
“These negotiations are unlikely to progress while we have a UK government that is divided, that has no majority in the House of Commons and which is losing support by the day on this issue.
“It is time for a change in Britain.”
MEPs will vote tomorrow on a resolution to set out the European Parliament position on the Brexit negotiations ahead of next week's European Council meeting to review the state of the UK-EU talks.