The Government insists the UK will leave the customs union

Ahead of a symbolic vote on the issue this week, the government has reiterated it’s commitment to leaving the EU’s custom union.

Last Wednesday, the government suffered defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords when members voted in favour of staying in the customs union.

As a result, MPs will get a chance to debate the proposal on Thursday.

Although, a senior Downing Street source said government’s position would not change.

“We will not be staying in the customs union or joining a customs union.”

Labour has called for the UK to join a new customs union post-Brexit, saying it would leave the current one but negotiate a treaty afterwards that would “do the work of the customs union.”


What is a customs union?

A customs union is a form of trade agreement between two or more countries. The purpose of a customs union, like that of other trade agreements, is to make it easier for member states to trade.

Customs unions reduce administrative and financial trade barriers (such as customs checks and charges) and enhance economic cooperation.

It means they decide not to impose tariffs (taxes on imports) on each other’s goods and agree to impose common external tariffs on goods from countries outside their customs union.

However, they also limit the freedom of their individual members to strike their own trade deals.


by Ben – Correspondent for the General news section.


Article 50 – What is it and why is it significant?

When will Theresa May trigger Brexit?

Article 50 is the article that will mean the UK leaves the EU. It is a one page agreement for all EU member states.

Over the next couple of years, Theresa May and the government will negotiate with several world leaders about Britain and it’s exit with the European Union (Brexit). They will have to come up with many trade agreements and new laws that will be put in place instead of our current EU laws. EU law makes up 13% of our current laws and plays a part in 62%. The UK is scheduled to leave the EU in April 2018 which could change the way we travel, work and trade.

Here is an explanation of the article that decides the requirement to leave the EU.

The first point in the article expresses that any member state of the European Union which decides to withdraw does so with it’s own constitutional requirements and that secondly any members state that wishes to leave shall notify the European Council of its intention.

Thirdly, the treaty will cease to apply to the state in question 2 years after the notification to leave the European Union is sent.

Finally, a majority vote must be defined in accordance with the Article 238 which states “The qualified majority shall be defined as at least 72% of the members of the Council, representing Member States comprising at least 65% of the population of the Union.”

Once Article 50 is put in place it can not be stopped, extended unless by unanimous consent and any deal must be decided by a majority vote. The UK will not take part in any internal EU discussions in the period after the article has been invoked.

The Conservative party predicts this article will be triggered by Theresa May before the end of March 2017.

Here we have an interview with a few members from the general public about what they think about Brexit and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

by Ben and Jack – Correspondents for the General News section

EU Referendum: The Future of Our Nation

The British public will decide, in just a few months, whether they would like Britain to remain in the EU.

David Cameron has confirmed the date for the referendum to be the 23rd June and those who are on the electoral roll will be eligible to vote in a similar way to the general elections, where polling stations will be opened and the future of our country decided.

The European Union is a political-economic union of 28 European countries. Founded in 1993, the objective of the union was to strengthen relations between the countries, create trading links and even prevent another war between European countries in the future.

The campaign has been given the shortened name of ‘Brexit’ and it has even been reported by The Sun that the Queen is backing a British departure from the European Union. It was initiated subsequent to the Conservative Party outlining their manifesto pledge to hold a referendum which would determine Britain’s future in the EU.

David Cameron, Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, has expressed his desire for Britain to stay in the EU. Cameron wants some reformation in the terms of Britain’s membership but adamantly wants Britain to stay. Discussing the future of the EU at Bloomberg, Cameron said: “I’m not a British isolationist… I believe something very deeply- Britain’s national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union and that such a European Union is best with Britain in it.” In a forthcoming speech, Mr Cameron will say, “The question is: where will our economy be stronger; where will our children have more opportunities?” The Prime Minister has also voiced his concerns that Brexit will result in ‘fewer jobs, less investment and higher prices.’

In a speech last month, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, said that, “Our party is committed to keeping Britain in the EU… but we also want to see progressive reform in Europe.”

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, said that, “It is safer to vote to leave and take back control of our borders.”

A key factor in the minds of deciding British people is the implications of our country staying in the EU and exiting the EU, and the effects on issues British people are passionate about.

Whilst being a part of the EU, there has been a huge influx of Eastern European people coming to live in Britain. UK independence would presumably mean that Britain would be subject to less Europeans immigrating to the UK and this would create more employment opportunities for Britons that would otherwise be taken by Europeans. However, if Britain stay in the EU, British people are able to move freely within the EU and also work in any of the member states. If Britain were to leave, it does not necessarily mean that there will be a significant decrease in Europeans working in our country- a key question is, how will Britain decide who to allow to work in our country?

Although we were previously informed that Brexit will inflate the cost of flights for British people, in particular on budget airlines, it is now being argued that an EU exit will not affect fares by Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary.

Economically, Brexit is reported to damage growth, and major firms including BT, Marks & Spencer and Vodafone signed a letter, stating that an EU exit would negatively impact these companies and investment in the UK. In 2012, it was reported that the United Kingdom contribute €180.38m to the EU annually, with the figures published by the EU Budget Office.

A concern if we vote to leave is the exclusion of Britain from being involved with the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). The EAW ensures that criminals in an EU country who flee abroad to another member country can be arrested where they are and then extradited. Brexit would mean that Britain could fall victim to an unprecedented number of criminals escaping to our country without the EAW being in effect, meaning that criminals could be roaming the streets of our nation without the police having substantial powers.

It seems that in the debate regarding whether we should stay or leave, there are copious questions hindering our ability to reach a decision as individuals in a democratic society that allows us to vote and essentially decide the future of our country. Do we really understand the ramifications of an exit, or is it just a leap into the unknown? Is Britain better off as an independent country that can guarantee a better future for its people? Would an exit really control immigration and create jobs for our people, or will we face severe economic problems?

Let’s hope that the British public can come to a sensible decision that can guarantee a better Britain.

By Ryan


Fernley’s and Ben’s 60 Second Report

‘Could vegetables grow on Mars?’ Is the question many scientists are asking themselves. Researchers in the Netherlands have successfully grown tomatoes, peas, radishes and other vegetables, in another soil (supplied by NASA) thought to be very similar to Martian soil. No-one ate the vegetables because substances in it may be poisonous.

The next story is about Professor Stephen Hawking and his views about the EU Referendum. Genius, Professor Stephen Hawking, has warned Brexit would be ‘a disaster for UK science’. If you want more about this story read this article:

If you are ever upset about the news here is some advice:

  • Just don’t worry; there is a very small chance this is going to happen to you.
  • Tell your mum or dad, or any adult that you trust.

by Ben and Fernley – Coordinators for the General News section.