Theresa May said to face cabinet pressure over Brexit customs union

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Mrs May last week suffered a defeat at the hands of peers in the House of Lords when they backed an amendment to compel ministers to explain what they have done to ensure that Britain can remain in a customs union after leaving the EU.

Members of the House of Lords have already inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the May government by voting against her flagship Brexit legislation, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the Repeal Bill.

What is the customs union?

Since Britain voted to leave the European Union 22 months ago, some of the world's most powerful finance companies in London have been searching for a way to preserve the existing cross-border flow of trading after it leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Leaving the EU's single market and customs union are cornerstones of Britain's Brexit plan, created to ensure an end to unlimited EU migration and give London the power to sign its own global trade deals.

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The Brexiteer MP also referenced Lord Kerr's amendment in the House of Lords on Wednesday, in which Peers defeated the Government over the customs union - claiming that the United Kingdom can not resolve the Irish border issue without remaining in the customs union.

"They are weaponising the Irish border in order to try to keep us in the European Union by the backdoor by using a combination of fear and bluster".

Replying to Mr Javid's tweet, he suggested MPs should "rise above ideology and lead based of fact, analysis and evidence - all of which favours a customs union".

She faces further political conflict over the issue this week ahead of a vote in the House of Commons.

She added: "We need to find out ways that we can continue to trade across borders, and of course deliver on our commitment that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland". A vote for the customs union would prompt a crisis at home, but would also open the way to a reboot in Brexit talks in Brussels, which aren't making much progress.

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Labour's Chuka Umunna and pro-Remain Conservative Anna Soubry have put down amendments to the Trade and Customs Bill that will make staying in the customs union a legal objective of the Government.

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In comments released beforehand, he said: "We will work with old allies and new partners across the world, utilising the UK's economic strength and diplomatic prowess to forge new trading relationships".

"Ultimately, our task is to remove the unnecessary regulation, bureaucracy and red tape that inhibit the free trade in services". Even last week, amid the Windrush saga and rows over bombing in Syria, the pesky House of Lords ensured that the question of our future outside the European Union managed to grab the headlines.

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