February 1, 2019 / 10:24 PM / 6 months ago

UK government begins 'serious work' on UK staying in EU customs union - The Independent

Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

(Reuters) - British officials have begun “serious work” on the UK staying in a permanent EU customs union as a way to rescue the Brexit deal, the Independent newspaper reported on Friday.

Preparations for the customs union are underway at a high level with some Cabinet ministers pushing Prime Minister Theresa May to accept that she would have to drop her opposition to a customs union to get Labour parliament members to back her deal, the Independent said, citing a “well-placed Whitehall source.”

“There is serious work going on about a customs union. We need to be prepared, so we are ready if the politics moves in that direction,” the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wants Britain to be in a permanent customs union with the EU after Brexit, something May has opposed so far, saying it would hinder Britain’s ability to pursue independent trade deals around the world.

Reporting by Ishita Chigilli Palli in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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