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Government faces fresh Brexit challenge as MPs table customs union motion

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Theresa May's government faces a fresh challenge over its plans for Brexit, as the chairs of 10 select committees table a new motion on remaining in a customs union.

Committee chairs including Tories Nicky Morgan (Treasury Select Committee) and Sarah Wollaston (Health), as well as Labour's Yvette Cooper (Home Affairs), Hilary Benn (Brexit), Meg Hillier (Public Accounts) and Rachel Reeves (Beis), are among those to have put the motion "to include as an objective in negotiations on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union the establishment of an effective customs union between the two territories".

The motion stresses the importance of avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the role of a customs union in achieving that.

Put forward by the members of the over-arching Liaison Committee, the motion will be debated next week and follows the blow suffered by the government last night when it was defeated on a similar motion in the Lords with a majority of 123.

That motion – which also focuses on the possibility of staying in a customs union after Brexit – will now go to the Commons for debate next month.

The government has repeatedly insisted that the UK will leave both the customs union and Single Market as part of its efforts to respect the referendum vote.

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