Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill: 16th July 2018

New Clause 1

EU VAT area and pre-commencement requirements

“(1) It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government in negotiations on the matters specified in subsection (2) to maintain the United Kingdom’s participation in the EU Customs Union.

(2) Those matters are—

(a) the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and

(b) a permanent agreement with the European Union for a period subsequent to the transitional period after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to lay a report before the House of Commons in accordance with either subsection (4) or subsection (5).

(4) A report under this subsection shall be to the effect that the negotiating objective specified in subsection (1) has been achieved.

(5) A report under this subsection shall be to the effect that the negotiating objective specified in subsection (1) has not been achieved.

(6) If a report is laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (4), Parts 1 and 2 of this Act shall cease to have effect on the day after that day.

(7) If a report is laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (5), the provisions specified in section 55(1) come into force on the day after that day.

(8) No regulations may be made under section 55(2) for the purpose of appointing a day for the coming into force of paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 (replacement of EU customs duties) unless a report has been laid before the House of Commons in accordance with subsection (5).” —(Anna Soubry.)

This new clause establishes a negotiating objective to maintain the UK’s participation in the EU Customs Union, provides for Parts 1 and 2 of the Act to expire if that objective is met and makes the ending of the retention of EU customs duties conditional upon a report stating that the objective has not been met.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Soubry
I rise to speak in support of new clause 1 and new clause 12, and I shall also seek to speak briefly against new clause 36 and amendment 73. I hope that there will be Divisions, in the event of which I will vote against new clause 36 and amendment 73. It is my firm view that it is deeply regrettable that the Government have accepted the new clause and amendment, even though they clearly seek to undermine, if not wreck, the great advances made in the White Paper.​

I shall speak, as I like to think I always do, with openness, frankness and honesty. When I became a Business Minister in David Cameron’s Government in 2015, I would be the first to admit that I did not know the finer details of how many of our manufacturing industries and businesses actually worked. I knew about supply chains and their value, but I could not claim, in any way, shape or form, to be particularly familiar with them. I relished my brief, though, so I was soon enmeshed in the manufacturing sector in particular. For example, I had responsibility for the automotive sector, aerospace and, of course, the steel industry, which many Members will remember was having a particularly difficult time. I soon became not quite an expert, but I certainly knew my brief. I understood how supply chains worked, the value of frictionless trade, and what this thing called “just in time” was really all about. I had never actually seen it, though, until Friday, when I went to the Toyota factory at Burnaston, which is just outside Derby. I would make it compulsory for every single Member to go to Toyota—they could go to another car manufacturer in Swindon, or to Nissan in Sunderland, as I did shortly after the EU referendum—so that they could begin to understand what a supply chain is, why it relies on frictionless borders and what “just in time” means.

Let me give Members a bit of history about that remarkable Toyota plant just outside Derby. It is actually a legacy to Margaret Thatcher. It opened at the beginning of the 1990s. Some of us are old enough to remember those times and what had happened in many of our traditional manufacturing industries. My right hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Nicky Morgan), who is sitting next to me, has a business in her constituency called Brush. It is a long-standing business that has provided good-quality jobs for generations. I had Siemens in my constituency. At one time, I had a number of miners who worked in local pits in north Nottinghamshire and in Derbyshire. In due course, those pits closed, as did Siemens.

When we talk about Brexit, people extrapolate all sorts of things from the vote. One thing that definitely occurred—I know that it occurred for people in my constituency—was that a number of people voted leave because they felt left behind by what we call this global world and the global way of doing business. These people used to work, often down the pits in Nottinghamshire—I am from Worksop, so I understand the sort of lives that miners had and I have no romantic attachment to the coal mining industry—and in factories such as Siemens in high-quality jobs. Those jobs invariably paid good money, but they also added even more value to people’s lives. It was not just about the fact that it was work, which is, in itself, the right thing to do; it was not just the wages, which, in the deep coal mines in Nottinghamshire and at Siemens, were very good; and it was not just the trade and the skills that they conveyed—it was also that feeling of community and being valued. It was about all those great traditional British manufacturing values, which, in truth, began to disappear through the ’80s and into the ’90s. What the great Japanese car manufacturers brought back was much of that high-valued, highly skilled, super-effective and super-efficient manufacturing industry. That practice was not just confined to the automotive sector, because it runs right across many other sectors in manufacturing, which makes up 20% of our economy.

I say to all Conservative Members, “Shame on you if you have a manufacturer in your constituency that you have not been to to understand how a modern ​manufacturing business works and how it needs frictionless trade for the supply chains to work. Shame on you if you have not taken the opportunity to go to those places that might be outwith your constituency, but where your constituents work.” I say that very gently—
Charlie Elphicke (Dover) (Ind)
rose—
Anna Soubry
I will take my hon. Friend’s intervention in a moment, but not yet.

I say that very gently to my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Ben Bradley), as many of his constituents work in exactly the sorts of manufacturing industries that I am describing. No doubt, like a number of my constituents, some of them work at Toyota. When Members see how these wonderful manufacturing businesses work—whether it is ceramics, cars, automotives, potteries or glass—they will understand the importance of frictionless trade. What that means in the real world is that, at Toyota in Burnaston, parts arrive on lorries, which have come through the tunnel and straight up the motorway, and within three hours they are on the assembly line. It is an astonishing and an incredible achievement that this country should be proud of. It is part of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy—
Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con)
Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Anna Soubry

I will take my hon. Friend’s intervention in a moment.

It was Margaret Thatcher who, as a proud Conservative, championed free trade. I am a Tory. I believe in business. I believe in capitalism and in enterprise. I believe in our economy as it provides jobs and prosperity. It is indeed an engine of aspiration for so many of my constituents who want to see themselves going into apprenticeships at Rolls-Royce as much as they would like to go the finest universities.
Sir Edward Leigh
I knew Margaret Thatcher; I worked for Margaret Thatcher. My right hon. Friend ain’t no Margaret Thatcher.
Anna Soubry
I do not pretend to be able to walk in Margaret Thatcher’s boots, but I have read her speeches about the advantages of the single market. She was a huge champion—probably the biggest champion—of the single market. It was Margaret Thatcher who went over to Japan and promised the Japanese that our country would always stay in the single market. On that basis, Japanese business invested billions of pounds in this country.

My hon. Friend attacks me in a wholly unnecessary and really rather foolish way, but I hope that he will speak freely and honestly in our debate and give his assessment of what is facing our country if we do not get Brexit right. It is all well and good for Members to have their ideologically-driven, hard Brexit ideas when they are not able to face up to the reality of what they mean for people in my constituency and the rest of our country.
Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) (Con)

Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Sir Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con)

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Charlie Elphicke
Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Anna Soubry
In a moment.

The reality, which is faced in the White Paper, is that if we do not deliver frictionless trade in the way in which companies such as Toyota need and demand, they will simply not be able to operate. Some 81% of Toyota cars produced at Burnaston are exported into the European Union. And before anybody says, “Well, there will be new markets”—those unicorns that our Government will be chasing in new deals—please understand how the modern manufacturing industry works. Companies such as Toyota already make cars in other parts of the world to satisfy and supply the local market.
Nicky Morgan (Loughborough) (Con)

Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Charlie Elphicke

Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Anna Soubry

I will give way to my right hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough and then I will come down the row.
Nicky Morgan

Does not the intervention on my right hon. Friend made by our hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) show what is the matter with this Brexit debate? Rather than talking about the detail and the risk to thousands of jobs across the country in our manufacturing sector—the Conservative party has championed that sector since 2010—he prefers to trade insults and trade on personalities.
Anna Soubry

Here is a surprise: I completely agree with my right hon. Friend.
Charlie Elphicke

Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Anna Soubry

I will.
Sir Desmond Swayne

rose—
Sir Bernard Jenkin

rose—
Anna Soubry

I said that I would go down the row first. In a moment gents; hang on.
Charlie Elphicke

I have been listening with great interest to my right hon. Friend’s speech. I am a former remainer and fellow believer in free enterprise, which was why I set out a detailed plan as to how we can have frictionless trade using the World Trade Organisation trade facilitation agreement that was entered into in 2017.

My constituents have some questions that I would like to pose to my right hon. Friend. Why is it that so many lorries come in through Dover laden with goods yet so many return empty? Why is there a £100 billion trade surplus for the European Union? Why should we give the European Union access to our goods market but not insist on access to our financial services market after we leave the European Union?
Anna Soubry

I do not wish to be rude to my hon. Friend, but that really is the stuff of madness. Of course we need to export more, but here is the real question ​that he should be asking. At the moment, a lorry that comes in from the European Union through Dover will take, at the most, two minutes to go through. If it comes from outside the European Union, the process takes 20 minutes at the least, and at the most—and more typically—it takes two hours. How does that transpose to the manufacturing sector and to the Toyota workers outside Derby—some 3,000 people, with three to five times as many in the supply chains?

I say to my hon. Friend that this, Sir, is the real world. In the real world, when Toyota makes an order for car seats, they are delivered absolutely ready on to the production line within four hours of the order being placed. If we do not deliver frictionless trade, either through a customs union or some magical third way that the Prime Minister thinks she can deliver—good luck to her on that—thousands of jobs will go, and hon. Members sitting on the Government Benches, in private conversations, know that to be the case. What they have said in those private conversations is that the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs will be worth it to regain our country’s sovereignty—tell that to the people who voted leave in my constituency. Nobody voted to be poorer, and nobody voted leave on the basis that somebody with a gold-plated pension and inherited wealth would take their jobs away from them.

Sir Desmond Swayne

I have a very successful manufacturer in my constituency abiding by the very disciplines that my right hon. Friend has, rightly, been so effusive about. Imagine, then, my surprise when I discovered that the proprietor and chief executive of this organisation, Col-Tec—one Mike Bailey—was to be my opponent as the UKIP candidate in the New Forest West division.
Anna Soubry

I will take another intervention.
Sir Bernard Jenkin

I think the point that my right hon. Friend did not want to take is that there are plenty of businessmen who are in favour of leaving the European Union.

The point that I wanted to raise with my right hon. Friend is that her whole argument is passionately based on the fallacy that one cannot have just-in-time supply chains crossing international customs frontiers. In fact, that is the way that most of the rest of the world trades. At Toyota in her own constituency—I met Toyota last week—quite a substantial proportion of its componentry arrives from outside the European Union to be bolted on to its cars. She is putting up these completely false fears that just-in-time supply chains are threatened by trading across customs frontiers.
Anna Soubry

I have to say to my hon. Friend that that is absolute codswallop. When I went to Toyota, we were shown exactly the places where the parts had come from. For example, some parts had come from Japan. There was a special arrangement with Japan whereby the parts come into the factory and sit in a bonded warehouse. Those parts number less than 1% of the total. Toyota has 2.5 million parts coming into that factory, and the vast majority come from the European Union—it relies on frictionless trade.​

With great respect to my hon. Friend, he is somebody who makes the case that we should be a member of the World Trade Organisation. Let us just get this one straight. If our country joins the World Trade Organisation—[Interruption.]Well, we are a member through our membership of the European Union. If we are a member of the WTO in our own right, we will have to abide by its rules, which say that every member must secure its borders—I repeat, must secure its borders. That does not just mean that our country, when we leave the European Union, must secure its borders, but that the European Union, whether it likes or not, must secure its borders. What does that mean? There will have to be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It is dishonest and disingenuous for people to stand up and make out that something other than that is the reality.

The White Paper faces up to Brexit reality, and that is what Conservative Members must now do. We have to face that reality, just like I have had to face the reality that we are leaving the European Union. Hon. Members have to do the right thing by their constituents and put trade and business at the heart of Brexit.
Vicky Ford (Chelmsford) (Con)

I want to go back to the point about enforcing our border. Some people say that, if we were trading under WTO rules, we would not need to have a border in Ireland but, under the WTO’s most-favoured-nation rules, if we did not enforce the border in Ireland, we would be in breach of our agreements with other parts of the world. We would have no right to say, “No border.” Furthermore, if Ireland did not enforce the border with the rest of the UK, it would be in breach of its obligations to the EU and, if the EU did not require Ireland to respect the border, it would be in breach of its obligations across the world. So I thank my right hon. Friend for making that point so clearly.
Anna Soubry

That was a very long but very good intervention.
Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) (Lab/Co-op)

I have heard exactly the same points from businesses in my community. I have heard the same points about the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, too. That is why I favour staying in a customs union. The White Paper is full of magical thinking, but the amendments tabled by some in the right hon. Lady’s party directly contradict what is in the White Paper, because what they really want is a reckless no-deal Brexit in which we crash out, with all the damage that will cause.
Anna Soubry

I completely agree. I say to my Government that they are in grave danger of not just losing the plot but losing a considerable amount of support from the people of this country unless we get Brexit right. The people who put their names to those amendments—notably new clause 36 and amendment 73—did so not to be helpful to the Government and to support the White Paper. We know that from their public proclamations, in which they have tried to trash the White Paper.

I made it clear to the Whips and to—well, actually, to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, for whom I have a lot of time because he is a very good Minister, a very good man and a very good constituency MP. I say that because I have been to his constituency—

Mr Edward Vaizey (Wantage) (Con)

That’s your career over, Mel.
Anna Soubry

For the record, that was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly). If anyone else had said it, I would have been very rude. [Interruption.] Sorry. Scrub that; it was my right hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey)—ever the trouble maker.

This is really serious. I told the Minister that I would not press my amendments to a vote. That is not because I lack courage—in fact, given events, I would like to think I have a bit of courage. Some say I do not have a fear gene at all. Just to remind hon. Members, three people have received custodial sentences for the death threats I have received. I am getting a bit tired of being called a traitor. Certain people on these Benches support a newspaper that, disgracefully, had the temerity to suggest that the Prime Minister of our country might in some way have committed treason by the production of this White Paper. That is outrageous. Right hon. and hon. Members on these Benches really need a bit of a reality check, not just on Brexit but on the way this party is conducting itself and on who they choose to call their friends.

Let me return to why I will not press my amendments to a vote.
Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)

Order. Before the right hon. Lady returns to the substance of her remarks, I just point out to her that she has already had 21 minutes of the debate, and—[Hon. Members: “More!”] Order. This is not a music hall. The right hon. Lady is perfectly in order—she has an awful lot of things to deal with and she has taken a lot of interventions—but I know that she will quite soon begin to come to a peroration.
Anna Soubry

By remarkable coincidence, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am coming to the conclusion of my remarks. I want to explain why I will not press my amendments to a vote, as I indicated to the Minister last week. The reason is the production of the White Paper.

I will be very frank: the White Paper does not go as far as it should—it is silent on services, which make up 80% of our economy—but I welcome it because it absolutely marks that our Prime Minister understands the needs of British business, in particular manufacturing businesses, and is determined to do the right thing. She has come up with this third way. Whether she can achieve it remains to be seen, but I decided not to press my amendments to a vote because of my support for the White Paper and my desire to give that third way a chance.

Having done that, I believed, as a pragmatic, reasonable, moderate Conservative, that I had done the right thing by my Prime Minister and, as much as anything else, by my country. Imagine, therefore, my profound disappointment that the Government today, for reasons I can just about understand, decided to accept four amendments, two of which are not controversial but two of which—new clause 36 and amendment 73—seek to wreck and undermine this.
Mr Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield) (Con)

Is not one of the features of these two amendments the fact that they would not do what their proposers seek them ​to do? The fact that the Government have chosen to accept amendments that are unnecessary and useless shows that the only intention behind their tabling was malevolent? The fact that they are being maintained at the present time is also an act of malevolence towards the Government by the proposers.
Anna Soubry

I completely agree with my right hon. and learned Friend. Members on the Government Front Bench, and indeed across the House, should be hanging their heads in shame. This is the stuff of complete madness. The only reason the Government have accepted the amendments is that they are frightened of around 40 Members of Parliament—the hard, no-deal Brexiteers —who should have been seen off a long time ago. These people do not want a responsible Brexit; they want their version of Brexit. They do not even represent the people who actually voted to leave. The consequences are grave, and not just for this party, but for our country. One has to wonder who is in charge. Who is running Britain? Is it the Prime Minister, or is it my hon. Friend the Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg)? I know where my money is at the moment.
Stephen Doughty

What has really been going on here is that some of these extreme individuals have been threatening the Government, trying to hold them hostage, and saying that they will vote against Third Reading and bring the Government down, in order to get these bizarre, contradictory amendments through.
Anna Soubry

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. It is disgraceful, because this White Paper is a genuine attempt by our Prime Minister to heal the divisions in our party, and indeed the divisions in our country, and take us to a smooth and sensible Brexit that delivers for everybody.
Mr Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe) (Con)

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, if the Government were guaranteed the support of the Labour party and the Scottish National party against these wrecking amendments, we could finally reveal what a tiny minority of the House of Commons is trying to hold us all to ransom over a reasonable deal with the European Union?
Anna Soubry

My right hon. and learned Friend is right, as ever.

The truth is that both main political parties are now in the grasp of the few who falsely claim to speak for the many. A lack of ability, or perhaps courage, the over-liking of the safety and sanctity of ministerial office or, frankly, just a quiet life, on whichever side of the House, and a guaranteed income for a loyal Back Bencher with a handsome majority, mean that our country is hurtling not just towards the extremes of British political life, but over the Brexit cliff, which the overwhelming majority of leavers did not vote for—indeed, they were promised the precise opposite.

The time has come for the nonsense to be stopped. The time has come for people to show courage and do the right thing by our country. We are leaving the European Union, but we have to leave in such a way that protects jobs and prosperity—and peace in Northern Ireland—for everybody in this country. It is time for people to put aside the ideology and the nonsenses that ​invariably come from not inhabiting the real world. Let us face up to reality, as this White Paper seeks to do, and reject these two ludicrous amendments that the Government have agreed to. In due course, let us wake up to the further reality: we will end up in the single market and the customs union; the only question is when.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Soubry
Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mr Davis
No, I will not give way.

I went back last year to look at it again, and yes it was 15-year-old technology. It could be better now; it could be faster. What happens in Detroit, the centre of the American motor industry? In Ontario, across a very difficult and constrained border, tougher than Dover, there is an entire industry supplying parts, components and engines for that motor car industry. It operates across a border that has tariffs on it too.

Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Con)
Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mr Davis
No, if my hon. Friend will forgive me. I am short of time.

The simple truth is they operate even where there are tariffs, and we are proposing a non-tariff arrangement—there would be no tariffs here; the primary concerns will not be the collection money but other things.

Anna Soubry
Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mr Davis
No, if my right hon. Friend will forgive me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Soubry
Did the right hon. Lady notice that there was no detail about the reality of the America-Canada border, which took 10 years to construct, cost £10 billion, deals with facial recognition, and involves 100 companies in the automotive sector of Detroit and nothing more? Does she think that such a model would not provide the frictionless trade that our manufacturing sector needs?

Yvette Cooper
I completely agree with the right hon. Lady. The former Brexit Secretary seems to be arguing that because companies trade across borders that involve customs checks, we should rip up our customs-free borders. He is saying that because those trades take place, it is okay somehow to add costs to our trading process. Why on earth would we do that? Why on earth would we add burdens to businesses that do not face them at the moment? Why on earth would we make the process difficult and more costly for them? It is not that we think all trade will stop—of course it will not—but the point is that that trade will become more costly and burdensome, and our businesses and manufacturers will be at a disadvantage compared with their European neighbours and competitors. That is unfair on our manufacturers, which we in this House should be standing up for. I certainly believe in standing up for Yorkshire manufacturing.

The former Brexit Secretary also seemed to be arguing that, because we coped with Operation Stack before, let us have more delays again. Yes, we can cope, but Operation Stack cost businesses coping with those long delays a fortune.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Bernard Jenkin
My right hon. and learned Friend, who seems to be becoming a remainer again, judging from his article in the Evening Standard—

Anna Soubry
Oh, come on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Soubry
New clause 36 and amendment 73 are designed not to help the White Paper, but to wreck it. I am going to try to help the White Paper, which is why I seek leave to withdraw new clause 1.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.