Corbyn's custom union proposal is not finger licking good

As Jeremy Corbyn comes out to support a customs union with the European Union risks throwing away the key benefits from Brexit. Matt Kilcoyne, Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, says:

"Jeremy Corbyn’s latest position on Brexit makes little sense. A customs union with Europe, while walking away from the single market threatens any potential gains from Brexit and Corbyn's hostility to America will also hurt British consumers.

"The customs union of the European Union is dominated by continental manufacturing interests. Britain could be nimbler in its approach than the EU has managed over the past four decades and draw down its tariff structures on third countries to reduce costs for consumers while boosting trade (be it with the developing world or with the largest economies like America and China). Corbyn says that he doesn’t want the UK to become a rule taker but that is precisely what this proposal will see us end up as. The UK is the tenth largest trader in the world. In 2016, the United Kingdom exported $404bn and imported $625bn. We should make the most of this opportunity to be the bastion for free trade with the rest of the world, not be shackled to institutions and decisions made in Brussels without our say.

"A comprehensive free trade deal with the USA could open up a market of 323m to our world-beating financial services, high-quality food, legal services and cars – while driving down costs for consumers here. Corbyn might be getting all in a flap about chlorine chicken in an FTA but EU institutions like the European Food Safety Authority he so lauded have said it was safe to eat time after time. Throwing away the chance for trade deals with the USA by hamstringing the UK to a customs union with the EU would be like buying a chicken burger, throwing out the meat, and eating the wrapping."

For further comment or to arrange a interview please contact Matt Kilcoyne (, 07584778207, 02072224995).