The British government is under renewed pressure to commit to a new customs union with the EU following Brexit after the UK's Labour Party confirmed its support for this approach.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed that his party will support remaining in a permanent customs union with the EU as a means of ensuring better access to the European market, fewer regulatory hurdles for imports and exports, and the avoidance of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
My Corbyn's confirmation of his party's stance on a post-Brexit customs union represents a significant clarification of Labour's Brexit policy, and could create difficulties for prime minister Theresa May if rebels within her Conservative Party choose to side with the Labour approach.
Thus far, Mrs May has been adamant that leaving the EU will also mean leaving the current customs union, arguing that only by doing so will the UK be able to freely negotiate its own free trade deals with other countries after Brexit.
Both Labour and the Conservatives are in agreement that Brexit would mean leaving the European single market, but the Labour leader's latest speech has the potential to influence the government's customs union policy, given that Mrs May does not have a parliamentary majority, and that many Conservative MPs are known to favor a post-Brexit customs union.
Mr Corbyn said: "Every country that is geographically close to the EU without being an EU member state - whether it's Turkey, Switzerland or Norway - has some sort of close relationship to the EU, some more advantageous than others.
"Britain will need a bespoke relationship of its own. Labour would negotiate a new and strong relationship with the single market that includes full tariff-free access and a floor under existing rights, standards and protections."