British government begins 'serious work' on UK staying in EU customs union: Report

A campaigner on the issue of Brexit attends a rally outside Parliament in London.
A campaigner on the issue of Brexit attends a rally outside Parliament in London.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (REUTERS) - British officials have begun "serious work" on the UK staying in a permanent EU customs union as a way to rescue the Brexit deal, the Independent newspaper reported on Friday (Feb 1).

Preparations for the customs union are under way at a high level with some Cabinet ministers pushing Prime Minister Theresa May to accept that she would have to drop her opposition to a customs union to get Labour parliament members to back her deal, the Independent said, citing a "well-placed Whitehall source."

"There is serious work going on about a customs union. We need to be prepared, so we are ready if the politics moves in that direction," the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wants Britain to be in a permanent customs union with the EU after Brexit, something May has opposed so far, saying it would hinder Britain's ability to pursue independent trade deals around the world.