Labour have finally come off the fence and decided they want the UK to stay in the customs union permanently. This despite both official campaigns making it crystal clear that a vote to leave the EU was a vote to leave it.

It is an act of submission to a foreign power unseen since the Vichy government of France in 1940. Worse it is a cynical ploy designed to undermine the government during difficult negotiations.

The Customs Union forces the UK to apply £9 billion a year of tariffs on non-EU countries. The EU then takes 80% of that, £7.2 billion a year and growing. Is it Labour’s plan that we continue to milk UK consumers and then pay this to the EU? For we cannot be part of the Customs Union unless we do. We must be told. The media must push Labour to answer this vital question and answer it now.

A further consequence is that the UK will be prohibited from entering into its own trade deals. Think about that for a moment. 90% of all trade growth in the world is outside the EU, but the UK will have no right to negotiate deals with these fast growing markets. Instead we will be bound to the protectionism of any vested interest from any part of the EU.

As David Bannerman succinctly puts it the EU have failed to negotiate a deal with ANY of the top three markets.

This is partly because many within the EU don’t want to achieve a breakthrough. The EU is not a vehicle for free trade but a protectionist club.

David goes on to give examples of some of the tariffs we could shed, but now Labour have chosen not to:

These are the most regressive of duties hitting the poorest the hardest. Labour must be asked why they want to keep these prices higher, thus hitting their own constituents in their pockets.

The Labour argument is the Customs Union is essential for frictionless trade and point to the Irish border as an insurmountable problem. This shows how weak and lacking in ambition the Labour Party is. It is also technically incorrect as the customs union only deals with tariffs, to achieve their objective within the Customs Union we would also have to remain in the Single Market. To remain in the Single Market we must accept Freedom of Movement and the laws of the European Court of Justice.

In what way is this leaving the EU? It is a direct betrayal of the democratic will of the British people. More specifically is a betrayal of their own electorate. A slap in the face to the the two thirds of Labour constituencies who voted to leave. In this they are aided and abetted by a handful of EU obsessives in the Conservative Party like Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston.

Do Labour seriously believe that Canada is able to negotiate a better deal with the EU than the UK can? The only risk of that is one they bring about by weakening the UK’s position and encouraging the EU to offer a poorer deal. In contrast Theresa May was a remain supporter, but above all else she is a democrat. She has demonstrated that she is determined to deliver Brexit and that this means leaving the Single Market, the Customs Union and the European Court of Justice.

The far better approach is that of her government, to negotiate a wide ranging free trade deal outside of the customs union. This allows us to set our own tariffs and importantly negotiate our own trade deals. This won’t be simple and the government’s realistic approach of an implementation period is absolutely correct to give business time to adjust and the UK and EU time to develop our future relationship.

What Labour have achieved is to put clear water between the government’s free trade approach and their leave in name only approach. It is time for ALL Brexiteers to unite behind Mrs May and her government, for the only alternative is a Labour leave in name only, we would have freedom of movement in perpetuity, we would have to obey all EU rules and laws, and we wouldn’t even have a say on them.

Avid remain supporter Keir Starmer may have dragged Jeremy Corbyn kicking and screaming into this capitulation to the EU but ‘leave in name only’ is the worst of all worlds.