May Brexit plan unworkable: Davis
Brexit “bulldog” David Davis has told UK Prime Minister Theresa May that her “best of both worlds” concept for Brexit is unworkable.
May has proposed another customs arrangement but the Brexit minister said the compromise was an idea that Brussels had already rejected.
It could be argued that these models should have been discussed before the 2016 referendum and not nine months before Britain is due to leave the bloc.
Her team said the new plan, known as the “facilitated customs arrangement”, would allow London to set tariffs on goods arriving into the UK.
Her office said tracking devices would be used to determine where the goods ultimately ended up, and therefore whether UK or EU tariffs should be paid. Products like sugar and tomatoes can be used in numerous products and transported globally, creating a technological challenge.
Davis has told May Brussels would block any deal for the UK to police EU borders.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Davis said that the plan was doomed because it amounted to a customs partnership with additional technological solutions.
May’s office claimed the plan could be in place by the end of the proposed transition period before 2021.
The prime ministerial proposal, referred to a “third-way” arrangement, is seen as a soft Brexit solution where the UK becomes a tax collector for the EU.
Under the plan, the London would be free to set tariffs on goods destined for the UK but allow EU tariffs on goods bound for the bloc.
It is unclear whether May’s cabinet will back her latest plan at a Brexit meeting at Chequers tomorrow (Friday).
As the cabinet still debates what it is going to ask Brussels for, car giant Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has warned it urgently needs “greater certainty” on Brexit to continue to invest in the UK and safeguard suppliers, customers and 40,000 British-based jobs.
The warning from the UK’s biggest remaining carmaker follows similar statements from BMW and Airbus.
Business secretary Greg Clark said the government was determined to ensure the “great British success story” can continue to “prosper and to invest in Britain”.
Dr Ralf Speth, the JLR CEO, said the firm’s “heart and soul was in the UK”.
He told the media: “However, we, and our partners in the supply chain, face an unpredictable future if the Brexit negotiations do not maintain free and frictionless trade with the EU and unrestricted access to the single market.
“A bad Brexit deal would cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2 billion profit each year.
“As a result, we would have to drastically adjust our spending profile. We have spent around £50 billion in the UK in the past five years, with plans for a further £80 billion more in the next five.
“This would be in jeopardy should we be faced with the wrong outcome.”
Pro-EU protesters in London last month. Picture credit: Eurasia Times