Four Conservative MPs rebel against plan to reduce UK’s import tariffs

UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis admits that these are final reports, but name uncertainty

The British prime minister’s calls to regulate all countries’ “borderless” electronic goods has triggered a formal political rebellion by four Conservative MPs.

The four rebels are Jeremy Lefroy, who is the chair of the Conservative Commons EU sub-committee; Peter Bone, a member of the British parliament’s House of Commons foreign affairs select committee; John Penrose, chair of the Conservative Conservative group in the European parliament; and Xavier Darcos, who is a lawyer from the British parliament’s Europe sub-committee.

Lefroy, Bone and Penrose say they are not going to quit their positions but are now thinking about whether to resign. Darcos declined to comment and at least one is likely to stay in his job.

British government publishes paper on ​future duty on goods from borderless countries Read more

Darcos’s position as a parliamentarian means that he has to present a report to the European parliament – allowing him to send out links to correspondence that might be significant.

The government is therefore considering the matter on the latest updates from the UK parliament’s legislative department, with a final decision not expected until after parliament’s summer recess on 23 August.

The UK government published a paper last week proposing that electronic goods from borderless countries should not face the existing 17 import duty rates and one duty on agricultural goods.

British government publishes paper on future duty on goods from borderless countries Read more

The European commission, which administers the EU’s import duty system, is under pressure from some governments for a more liberal trading environment. For example, since 2004, all EU member states have exempted low-density alcohol, but UK politicians have argued that they should be separate from many other tariff-free products.

On the other hand, Britain has not been very welcome in the EU’s customs union since the conclusion of the first post-Brexit phase of the Brexit talks and is reportedly pushing for “post-tariff levels” on all goods into the UK.

The UK government insists that this is a work in progress and that it does not have a set of regulations yet.

Speaking on Thursday to Brexit Secretary David Davis, Lefroy suggested that there could be a “flexible” solution. “We could give an indicative cut-off date. If this deal fails, we can re-read our report and consider whether we should maintain the rules, or they should change.”

The rebels’ parliamentary office confirmed that Lefroy was talking about the report on “productivity measures”, not “tariff reductions” and they had suggested an “indicative cut-off date” to avoid confusion.

The prime minister has already had a temporary setback with a British row over tariffs between the government and the European commission.

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