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Vince Cable responds to Hammond pulling out of Mansion House speech

June 15, 2017 4:20 PM
Originally published by City of Nottingham Liberal Democrats

Philip Hammond has pulled out of delivering the annual Mansion House speech tonight, following reports he was going to set out a more pragmatic approach to Brexit focused on protecting jobs and the economy. He is now expected to give the speech at a later date.

It comes after DUP sources were reported to say they are fully committed to Theresa May's vision of Brexit, including leaving the single market and the customs union.

The Liberal Democrats have highlighted major inconsistencies in the DUP's position on Brexit, and called on the government to form a cross-party joint cabinet committee to negotiate Brexit.

Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable commented:

"Theresa May's extreme version of Brexit was born at Lancaster House, it should have been buried at Mansion House.

"Instead it seems the Conservatives, egged on by the DUP, are ploughing ahead with a deeply damaging exit from the single market and customs union.

"The DUP claim to want a soft border with Ireland but this is incompatible with their desire to leave the customs union.

"The British people have made it clear they do not support an extreme approach to Brexit that would risk our economy and jobs.

"The Chancellor should hold his ground and put membership of the single market and customs union back on the table.

"Brexit should be negotiated involving other parties, not by a government in hock to the DUP."


Notes:

Theresa May first set out her priorities for the Brexit negotiations at a speech at Lancaster House on 17th January 2017, where she made clear Britain should no longer be a member of the single market or customs union

DUP sources have confirmed to ITV Political Editor Robert Peston that the party is100% committed to the UK leaving the single market and customs union

Inconsistencies in the DUP's approach to Brexit:

The DUP campaigned strongly against joining the European Economic Community in the 1970s and more recently for leaving the EU.

Since the referendum, the DUP has called for several components of what might be termed a soft Brexit (eg a soft border with the Republic) yet this is contradicted by other Brexit positions the party has taken, significantly increasing the risk of the talks collapsing and the UK leaving without a deal in place.

The DUP's demand for a soft border with Ireland is dependent on remaining, at the very least, in the customs union. Yet the DUP also want the UK to be able to independently negotiate free trade deals with the rest of the world and escape jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Both demands are incompatible with customs union membership.

The DUP want the benefits of single market/EEA membership without the obligations.The DUP's demands for an end to ECJ jurisdiction and national control over laws and regulations preclude comprehensive access to the EU's single market. Yet the DUP manifesto also calls for the maintenance of most of the single market's benefits, from the "ease of movement of people, goods and services" to the "ability to opt in to EU funds".

The DUP emphasise the "particular importance of the agri-food sector to the Northern Ireland economy". Yet remaining in the customs union but not the single market - the Brexit option currently associated with the DUP - would not cover agricultural exports. Turkey, the only country in the customs union but not the single market, must pay customs duties on its agricultural exports to the EU