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UK Labour leader calls for new UK-EU customs union after Brexit

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AFP Coventry(United Kingdom)
British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn today called for "a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union" after Brexit in a major policy shift that could force Prime Minister Theresa May's government to change course.

"Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union to ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need whatsoever for a hard border in Northern Ireland," the Labour leader said.

Giving the example of integrated supply chains in the car industry, Corbyn said in a closely-watched speech that it "makes no sense" for Britain to turn its back on "tariff-free trading rules that have served as well.

"We are also clear that the option of a new UK customs union with the EU would need to ensure the UK has a say in future trade deals," Corbyn said, speaking in Coventry, central England.

"A new customs arrangement would depend on Britain being able to negotiate agreement of new trade deals in our national interest," he said.

But Corbyn also cautioned that free trade deals with China or the United States would not compensate for loss of trade with the European Union.

"Brexit is what we make of it, together," he said.

"Labour's priority is to get the best Brexit deal for jobs and living standards," he added.

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First Published: Feb 26 2018 | 5:55 PM IST

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