My concerns over the UK Government’s inaction to prove that no infrastructure will be built on the Northern Irish / Republic of Ireland border continue. I have asked many times if they will rule out any infrastructure – which includes simple things such as CCTV – and each time I have received no concise clear answer.
This time I pressed to see if the Government had spent anything on investigating the possibility of infrastructure on the border. The minister retorted that he is “pretty certain” that the answer is no.
I am appalled that he couldn’t give a categorical answer either way – especially when the peace process in Northern Ireland is such a fragile thing. Any creation of infrastructure on the border will raise tensions within the communities of Northern Ireland and I fear for its consequences that is why we need to be part of a customs union with the EU following Brexit.
The US Government has threatened to impose a tariff to our steel A pause in the imposition of the tariff has been negotiated by the European Union but I wanted to know what the UK Government is doing to ensure the US knows that the 15% of all UK steel sent to America should be permanently exempt from any tariff.
The Secretary of State pointed out the flawed thinking of the US – as much of the steel we produce is of high quality and not made in the States or is used for their defence programmes. But this comes from the same Secretary of State who has promised everyone that he can secure the best trade deal ever imagined between the UK and US. He is proving this is not as easy as he first predicted.
Once again I sought clarification on how the UK Government will know what is being transported between the different parts of the UK and countries outside of our borders when we leave the Customs Union and Single Market.
The Prime Minister gave a short and unhelpful answer just asserting that you don’t need a Customs Union or Single Market. But this fails to take into account British businesses need to know if items coming into the UK meet our standards or how products leaving the UK to our EU neighbours meet their standards once we leave. Once again we have muddled thinking from the UK Government.
Although the Vauxhall plant is located in Ellesmere Port there around 400 people from North Wales who work at the site. It is am important employer and we need to ensure it has a solid future.
My Hon. Friend secured this debate and I support him in his measures to ensure the UK Government are protecting these jobs. But I wanted to urge my Hon. Friend and he Minister responding to work with the Welsh Government as well. It will require collaboration to ensure that decent jobs remain at Vauxhall.