Ministers insist cabinet united over Brexit

PA Archive  PA Images                   Tory MP Bernard Jenkin said Tory MPs “overwhelmingly” wanted an end to the current uncertainty

We must be free to sign trade deals with the rest of the it is not our policy stay in the Customs Union.

As senior ministers prepared to discuss Britain's future relationship with the EU, Ms Rudd insisted there was greater unity around the cabinet table than many MPs realised.

"I have a surprise for the Brexiteers, which is that the [government] committee that meets in order to help make these decisions... is more united than they think", she told the BBC's "Andrew Marr Show".

And she vowed that the cabinet would work towards a deal that "works for the UK" and all of them have the best interests of the country at first.

"We will arrive at something that suits us all".

On Friday, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who leads a European research group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs, accused Treasury officials of deliberately attempting to frustrate Brexit by highlighting the downsides of a "hard" Brexit under which the United Kingdom would pull out from both the EU single market and customs union.

It is understood that Johnson does plan to argue against a customs union this week but has no plans to challenge May and still openly backs her.

Rudd acknowledged that a deal would probably involve some form of customs 'arrangement or 'partnership with the European Union, but said May had an 'open mind as to how that could be achieved. This is what I think these critics are trying to do. "That is the deal we are looking for", she said.

But within minutes of Rudd's appearance on the BBC, Housing, Communities and Local Government Minister Dominic Raab told ITV unequivocally that the United Kingdom will leave the Customs Union.

But she also said that ministers would be pushing for a bespoke agreement to let us enjoy frictionless trade AND the ability to strike our own deals.

"I don't think we will be in any form, at least as conceived in worldwide trade practise, a customs union", he said.



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