Vince to argue for single market and customs union on visit to Ireland

Our Vince is off to Ireland tomorrow, where he’ll meet leading Irish politicians to discuss Brexit.
Vince will be discussing the implications of the end of the first phase of Brexit negotiations, set to be approved by EU leaders, which failed to find a long-term solution to the Irish border issue.

He said:

The Conservative government has so far botched Brexit, and amongst the people who stand to be most affected are those living on the island of Ireland.

Even after the ‘divorce settlement’ and the agreement to proceed with trade talks, it isstill unclear how a hard border will be averted.

Audiences in Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland are being told different things. Many of the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement have been put at risk as a result.

The unnecessary decision by the Conservatives to leave the Single Market and Customs Union was not mandated by the EU referendum. It is a miscalculation that will harm commerce between our countries.

Those economic ties are much stronger than is generally realised, given the Republic is the fifth biggest customer for UK exports and we are the second biggest market for Irish exports. 6,000 vehicles cross the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland every day.

The confusion and ambiguity around the Irish border issue illustrates the problems ahead of us. There is, however, still time for the Conservatives to commit the UK to the Single Market and Customs Union – a strong government would make sure that continued membership of these economically advantageous arrangements was top of the agenda in Brexit talks. And there is still an opportunity either for a public vote, or for parliament, to stop a damaging Brexit.

That’s why I’m visiting Ireland to meet leading figures in politics and business. I want the Irish people to know that they still have friends in the UK.

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6 Comments

  • Nice win in Godalming last night, builds on the County election last year. Getting back to old times there.

  • Katharine Pindar 14th Dec '17 - 9:55am

    Good to know that Vince is going to Ireland – Dublin, I suppose? – for talks there. As Andy Daer remarks, last week’s ‘fudge’ about the Border will have to be clarified. Only there isn’t any answer, if Eire is in the EU and we are out of it, that I can see. Yes, we insist on the need to remain in the internal market and the customs union, but if the latter, we can’t negotiate free trade deals with the rest of the world, can we? Not of course that we need to, when the prospects of doing so on our own look very dim, but the trade deals negotiated by the EU which we now have the advantage of look so satisfactory.

  • This is an important visit by Vince. The Irish border issue is likely to be among the most difficult to square with the government’s stated intention of leaving the single market and customs union; and the focus of the DUP’s continued participation in the supply and confidence agreement with the government.

  • Will anyone know who he is?

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