- Cabinet ministers have expressed pessimism about the possibility of a customs union vote moving forward in parliament
- A compromise would have to be reached among the two major parties to pass a vote
- Both the Prime Minister and the opposition leader have expressed optimism over the matter
It would seem that citizens rights are not the only issue that is currently causing some friction in the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Even while there is infighting among political parties, there also seems to be some tension with regards to coming to collective agreements.
It was reported on May 1, 2019, that, cabinet minister are divided about whether talks with the Labour Party should include the topic of a customs union. The reason for this tension is that many believe that such a deal will not be able to pass a majority vote in parliament.
The matter is so severe that a senior cabinet minister has even suggested that involving a customs union with might see as little support as only 90 Tory MPs and could even lead to many resignations from the government. The deal has also been said to be so unpopular that it will likely be opposed by the NSP, Liberal Democrats and other small parties, with support only coming from a dozen Labour and only on the condition of a confirmatory referendum.
The talk about the customs union has not been limited purely to speculation as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated on April 30, 2019, that the deal would likely be unpopular and has also been opposed by the international trade secretary and the leader of the commons.
Thankfully, the forecast regarding the customs union has not been entirely negative as one cabinet minister has also stated that up to 160 Tory MPs could eventually back the customs deal, though mostly soft Tories.
Following a cabinet meeting on April 30, 2019, the environmental Secretary and the Chief Whip were reported to have urged ministers to accept the fact that the deal with Labour may be the only path to delivering Brexit. However, there are also concerns that despite an alliance with Labour, the legislation still will not pass or at least will not pass without hostile amendments being added.
The prime minister, however, stated on April 1, 2019, that she had an open mind on the deal that will be done with Labor.
“There are differences on issues but on many of the key areas – particularly on the withdrawal agreement – there is common ground,” she said, adding that this uncertainty needs to end and also needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. She also stated that if the deal could not move forward, it would be put down to a vote in the house.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn stated through his spokesperson that he was positive about the talks and denied any claims that a breakdown of deadlock had been reached.