The Prime Minister came to the Commons at the end of the week to present his new negotiating position with the EU to MPs.
I wanted to delve into the detail of his proposals because they deeply concern me over the impact on businesses and stability on the island of Ireland. Within paragraph nine of his proposals, the UK Government say that traders moving goods between Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain would need to implement a new system of checks. Not only would this place new costs on businesses moving goods and services between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, but it would also introduce infrastructure on the island of Ireland.
We have gone from a situation where there would be one border on the island of Ireland under the former Prime Minister, Theresa May MP’s, deal to two in this.
Additional borders cost money, and in the case of Northern Ireland erect barriers between communities. This is dangerous.
The Prime Minister offered a meeting and I will happily take him up on that offer.
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 Wednesday, I asked the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP, about the future of the steel industry.
When the Prime Minister visited the Indian Government we learnt that she failed to raise steel. As Tata, the Indian based company, is the company responsible for the steel works in Shotton it beggars belief that she did not think it necessary to ask the Indian Prime Minister, or any of his Ministries about how we can go forward and secure the thousands of jobs in the vital steel industry.
I asked the Secretary of State what steps he will take in the near future when he meets trade unions representing the steel industry to discuss the impact of the loss of single market access. Losing access to the single market will see our industry being hit with tariffs, making steel production become more expensive in the UK and threatening jobs.
The Secretary of State changed the subject of the question to discuss the cost of energy to this sector. As important as this is, under the current circumstances the costs imposed through losing access to the single market will be far more damaging. I was disturbed that the Government did not seem to have an answer to my specific question. I will continue to raise the steel industry within parliament until we get a plan that secures jobs for the long-term.