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To understand Brexit, look back to the first attempt to create a European Customs union—and how Britain blew its chance to lead

Our failure to press ahead with European integration in the late 1940s still haunts British politics now

By Paul Wallace  

Ernie Bevin had long seen the merits of a European customs union—but Britain failed to rise to the occasion. Photo: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

Now that Britain has now got a breathing-space until the end of October and following Theresa May’s adoption of cross-party talks with Labour, a compromise through a permanent customs union with the European Union appears the mostfeasible way out of the Brexit maze. Among the four options considered in MPs’ indicative votes on 1st April it was this proposal that came closest to gaining a majority. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said on Tuesday that a customs…

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