Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected the idea of targeting a customs union with the European Union, pouring cold water on hopes from some that she could shift her Brexit policy to win over the opposition Labour Party.
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 but has yet to find a deal which is acceptable to both Brussels and lawmakers at home, raising the prospect of a disorderly exit that could damage the world’s fifth largest economy.
Brexit has divided Britain at every level from voters to cabinet, and raised fears internationally that it will weaken the West. Brexit supporters hail it as casting off a failing German-led project.
Last week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn set out the conditions under which he would instruct his party to support an exit deal in parliament. Foremost was a demand that May seek a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”.
The EU has urged May to grasp Labour’s compromise offer rather than press ahead with her preferred option of getting her own divided party onside by renegotiating a clause in the exit agreement relating to the Northern Irish border.