May 2, 2018 / 7:46 AM / a year ago

Hard Brexit faction in May's party deny issuing threat over customs union

FILE PHOTO - British Conservative Party politician Jacob Rees-Mogg poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters at his offices in the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - The leader of a faction in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party demanding a clean break from the European Union, has denied issuing an ultimatum after asking her to drop a proposal for a customs partnership with the bloc.

A document prepared by the European Research Group, which is chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg, said it would be “impossible” for Britain to strike meaningful trade deals under a customs partnership.

“There is no question of there being an ultimatum, this is a paper that has been produced on a specific aspect of policy that would not work,” Rees-Mogg told BBC radio.

May’s Brexit sub-committee, which helps set the direction of policy on leaving the bloc, meets on Wednesday to discuss narrowing down the position on a future customs arrangement with the EU to one of two options.

A customs partnership is one of two proposed options that May’s government has proposed on customs, and means Britain would continue to collect EU tariffs for goods which are headed for member states.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Alistair Smout

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