Writing in the Times newspaper, Conservative MP and former international trade minister Greg Hands has put together a cautionary tale imagining the problems the UK could face if parliament decides to commit Britain to a customs union with the European Union.
Mr Hands says that MPs risk voting away their own influence over the UK’s trade policy and illustrates his point using fictional Parliamentarian for Stoke East, Stanley Bowles.
One of the problems imagined by the MP describes Oxfam lobbying for better access for goods from “Lesser Developed Countries in Africa, like Kenya”.
“They want the UK to lower its tariffs on imported agricultural goods like beans and flowers from Kenya,” Hands writes.
“Bowles explains that this is a decision for Brussels, with no say for the UK, despite the UK being the main European market for Kenyan goods, and despite the UK’s long-standing links with Kenya. Bowles explains that a Bulgarian MP would have more influence over this than he does,” he continues.
The Conservative MP says none of the scenarios he paints are far-fetched and that being in a customs union with the EU presents a serious loss of sovereignty for the UK. He adds that over time it would also prove to be democratically unsustainable for the world’s fifth biggest economy to not only have its trade policy set by a foreign power but also without a seat at the table.
You can read the article in full on the Times website.