What is the EU customs union?

What is the EU customs union?

Mrs May, who has made leaving the customs union central to her Brexit plans, said being a member would leave Britain unable to negotiate crucial free trade deals with the rest of the world.

Brexit minister David Davis has told a parliamentary committee that an agreement on a future free trade deal with the European Union after Brexit is "overwhelmingly probable".

The unelected Lord's last week voted on an amendment that throws into doubt May's plans to leave the EU's customs union, setting the stage for a fresh round of parliamentary battles over her strategy.

Davis told the Brexit committee he expects government policy on Brexit to be upheld by politicians, insisting the government would win the critical looming vote on leaving the EU customs union.

Reports last week suggested that Brussels had dismissed as unworkable both of the options put forward by London, which would either see the United Kingdom collect customs tariffs on behalf of the European Union or use technology to avoid delays at the border. "Are you saying to us today, confirming, the government would do that?"

The trip, made nearly two years after the European Union referendum, was little more than a "box-ticking exercise", the SDLP's Claire Hanna said.

"This House has a responsibility not to give the executive more power than is necessary", Lord (Peter) Goldsmith told peers before they voted.

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Reports are suggesting that Theresa May could be willing to U-turn on the Customs Union.

Challenged on how the Government would respond to defeat, he said: "I'm not going to enter into hypotheticals".

She is facing a Cabinet split over the issue, with senior Eurosceptics including David Davis, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove expected to urge her to abandon plans for a customs partnership amid concerns it could lead to a Brexit climbdown.

The amendment will have to be put to MPs for a debate and a vote before this key piece of legislation can be passed. "If the House rejects the proposed negotiation, that negotiation will fall".

Mr Davis denied suggestions the Government was "winging it" over Brexit.

The government says the rights the charter protects are already covered by British law and May's spokesman said earlier on Monday the withdrawal bill, which was approved by the House of Commons before being sent to the upper house, was the best way of providing "the smoothest possible Brexit".

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