On Monday the House was presented with the third reading of the Customs Bill. We were all surprised to see the Government accept the amendments put down by the European Research Group (a group of hard line Brexiteer MPs), particularly because the amendments seemed to fly in the face of the Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) agreed at chequers.
New Clause 36, for example, will prevent the government from collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU unless there is a reciprocal arrangement. Collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU is an essential component of Mrs May’s customs plan and it is unlikely that the EU will agree to collecting tariffs on behalf of the UK. This, in my opinion makes the FCA a non-starter.
It was also surprising to not see the leader of the Liberal Democrats, nor the former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the chamber to vote last night. Mr Farron was instead away from Parliament discussing his ‘controversial views as an evangelical Christian.’* This was particularly disappointing considering that we lost two of the crucial amendments by only three votes. This is not the ‘decent, strong opposition’ that Mr Farron promised when he came to support my predecessor in Leeds North West last year and in 2015.
Please see how I voted in each of the amendments below:
New Clause 11- This new clause establishes a negotiating objective to secure an agreement which allows the United Kingdom to have tariff free access to the European Union including the potential to participate in a customs union with the European Union, following exit from the European Union,and makes associated provision about reporting and implementation and modification of the Bil as enacted.– Voted For. Result f- 289 a-316
New Clause 13 This new clause applies an enhanced parliamentary procedure to several of the provisions in the Bill, requiring that the House of Commons pass an amendable resolution authorising (i) the rate of import duty on particular goods; (ii) the key provisions of regulations that set quotas; (ii) the key provisions of regulations that lower import duties for eligible developing countries; (iii) the quota provisions of regulations to give effect to recommendations of the TRA; (iv) regulations setting additional import duty on agricultural goods; (v) regulations varying import duty as a result of an international dispute, and (vi) the rate of export duty on particular goods.- Voted for.
Result f- 291 a- 316
New Clause 16 This new clause would require Scottish Parliament consent to implement a number of powers in the Bill.– Abstained
Result f- 36 a- 316
New Clause 36 Prohibition on collection of certain taxes or duties on behalf of territory without reciprocity- Voted against
Result f- 305 a- 302
Amendment 21- will prevent the Secretary of State for Trade using the public interest test or economic interest test to block the implementation of trade remedies and will ensure that when state sponsored dumping is found that remedial action will be taken to support UK manufactures and producers effected. – Voted for
Result f- 283 a- 317
Amendment 73 – stops the UK from joining the EU’s VAT regime.- Voted against
Result f-303 a-300
Cross Border Taxation Bill (Customs Bill) Third Reading- Voted against
Result f-318 a-285