• Customs and Media / Tessa Jowell

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    18 May 2018

    Customs and Media

    Very busy last week not just in Westminster but also in Northern Ireland and on the media over the weekend. In Northern Ireland I spent some time talking to local organisations and businesses about the border and how this will potentially be accommodated within the Brexit negotiations. We have made it clear that there will be no return to the borders of the past – ie no hard border between the north and south. This is vital as to erect any kind of hard border would inevitably lead to a renewed flare up in the troubles. The government has made it clear that the solution will not be to create a defacto border down the Irish Sea with Northern Ireland effectively remaining in the Customs Union with the EU and the rest of the UK outside of that arrangement. There are two possible approaches being considered at the moment. One known as the Max Fac option would see technology and various facilitations brought in to ensure that goods flow across our borders with minimum friction. The other is the New Customs Partnership in which the UK would act as an agent for the EU collecting customs duties on those goods crossing our border and that were destined for the EU. This latter approach is the one that would suit the Irish situation the best as it would largely remove the need for customs borders between ourselves and the remaining 27 EU members including Ireland. The Prime Minister has set up two working groups to examine each approach and consider the best way forward. It is right that we look at these options very closely – each has its challenges but neither should be dismissed out of hand. On Sunday I gave interviews to LBC, Five Live and to Sophie Ridge on Ridge on Sunday to discuss these issues. You can watch the Sky interview in full at . As the Minister responsible for customs I am looking forward to working on helping to shape our final position.

    Tessa Jowell

    It was with great sadness that we all learned of the death of Tessa Jowell at the weekend. She was a very special lady not least for her bravery in the face of the cancer that she suffered towards the end of her life but also for the very human quality that she expressed. She was one of those people that it was good to be around and she communicated that human quality so powerfully when she spoke of her condition and her wish for more to be done in terms of certain types of cancer treatment when she addressed the House of Lords around a month ago. She received a one minute standing ovation – something quite exceptional. She will of course be remembered for her drive for the UK to secure the 2012 Olympic games, an event that brought the whole country together. A powerful legacy.  More from Mel on twitter @MelJStride and at