With just one year until Brexit, and with politicians and experts still arguing over critical details around the UK’s departure from the EU, HuffPost UK turned to the British public to help solve some of the big issues. From immigration and the customs union to a second referendum, HuffPost UK is bringing you The People’s Negotiations to give clarity to what the UK should look like after Brexit.
Despite not being one of the key topics in the referendum campaign, the issue of whether the UK should stay in the EU’s customs union after Brexit has become one of the key battles between Leavers and Remainers.
Staying in the customs union would mean the UK would be unable to sign independent trade deals with other countries - something which many Leavers believes undermines Brexit completely.
Even some Remainers don’t believe the UK should stay in the customs union if it is leaving Brussels political institutions, with Labour’s Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner describing such a move as a “disaster”.
Since making that claim, Labour’s position has changed, and the party now wants to keep the UK in a customs agreement with the EU. Theresa May and her Government are clear that they want to be free of the customs union, in order to strike free trade deals with countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Business group the CBI believe the UK should stay in the union until it is proven that trade from outside the EU will replace that lost by leaving the bloc.
However, Brexiteers point to analysis from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that 90% of future growth will come from outside the EU, and now is the time to exploit that.
The people in our negotiation do not seem that motivated by the issue, with very few highlighting future trade deals as a reason for leaving the EU.
Perhaps the Government needs to work harder to sell this aspect of Brexit to the people.