Liverpool Liberal Democrats have tried to put the pressure on Labour Mayor Joe Anderson and Prime Minister Theresa May today by posting a statement advocating that the city should remain a member of the single market and the customs union when the UK withdraws from the European Union.
The Prime Minister shares the same stance of the staunchly Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionists, who prop up the minority government in a confidence and supply agreement. In a speech in January 2017 at Lancaster House, Mrs May advocated that post-Brexit: the UK would cease to be a member of the single market and the customs union, and would be free from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, seeming to recognise the motives which influenced the decision to vote to leave the EU in summer 2016.
Evident by the stalling negotiations, Brexit has become troublesome, even more so after the DUP’s refusal to agree to Northern Ireland effectively remaining in the single market and customs union, which would ensure no physical border between the North and the Republic. This was despite a deal agreed in principle between the UK Government, the Irish Republic and the European Union which subsequently caused embarrassment for the Prime Minister since she had to withdraw her support. Legally, the boundary between North and the Republic would become the border between the UK and the EU meaning custom checks. The initial compromise made by the Prime Minister seemed to trigger further debates in posing the question whether other regions within the UK such as Scotland should receive the same treatment since the Scottish people voted 62-38% in favour of Remain equating to 32/32 council areas.
The Liverpool Liberal Democrats, led by Councillor Richard Kemp, propose that Liverpool should remain in the single market and customs union since 58% of the city’s electorate voted to Remain. This would resemble the idea of a soft form of Brexit and membership of the European Economic Area. The Lib Dems believe that Northern Ireland, whose membership in the single market and customs union is “up for negotiation” according to No. 10, should not be exceptional and that Liverpool deserves the same treatment. As well as this, they argue the city’s economy also relies heavily on no-tariff trade from our European partners, and so has even more incentive to achieve its own soft Brexit deal.
Part of the statement can be read here: