It is time for the UK Government to wake up to the realities of Brexit. The announcement by Airbus – as well as BMW and Siemens – should make them realise that it is time to put forward a decent Brexit settlement and not one based in a strange dreamworld.
The UK Government’s Brexit negotiations are failing as they can’t even decide amongst themselves what they want. This is putting decent employers in a terrible position where they cannot plan for the future.
1,500 people live in Delyn and work at the Airbus plant in Broughton. We cannot lose these jobs and the Government should get its act together and agree with me, and the Labour Party, that we should become a member of a Customs Union and a version of the European Economic Area. This will secure our trading partnership with the EU and jobs.
But this isn’t just a question of trading relationships it’s about aviation standards. The Government couldn’t promise me today that the UK will remain part of these vital bodies. Without membership of this body planes won’t fly: as simple as that.
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.
On Friday the Prime Minister gave a speech on the UK Government’s approach to Brexit. Instead of there being answers there was more soundbites. I am really concerned by the Government’s refusal to accept a customs union with the remaining EU member states. Without it we will see a hard border constructed between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or even the division of Northern Ireland from UK mainland.
As a former Northern Ireland minister I know the sacrifices that people have made to bring about improvements in the peace process in the island of Ireland. This is still a process. It has not finished and if the UK Government cannot find a solution – like the one offered by Labour to join a customs union – we must all be concerned about the stability of Northern Ireland.