David Gauke gets corked as Number 10 shuts the door on customs union
The business secretary and the PM's spokesman are not quite on the same page.
Business secretary David Gauke caused a flurry of excitement before PMQs by going on TV and leaving the door ajar to the UK remaining a permanent customs union with the EU after Brexit - something which is most certainly not government policy - following last night comprehensive rejection of Theresa May’s deal.
“I think the right answer would be to leave the customs union,” he said. “But given where we are we have to be open to proposals that are put forward and make an assessment on those numbers.”
Number 10 is adamant, at least for now, that the PM will not be budging on this. Although it is interesting that what was once a “red line” is now just a “principle”, which would suggest that it could be traded away in upcoming discussions with senior MPs.
Her spokesman said: “The principles that govern us as we go into these talks is that we want to, among other things, be able to do our own trade deals and that is incompatible with membership of either a or the customs union.”
Watch this space....