IT is not surprising that Theresa May already has had support for her preferred option, the “customs partnership” from Ireland’s Leo Varadkar (Plan back by Brexit hardliners ‘would harm 145,000 firms, May 11).

It is just about workable and might even be to the EU’s advantage. In fact more EU leaders might show support when they realise just how much work would be taken off their hands by bringing goods in through the UK.

Provided that the UK remains in a free trade area with the EU, all responsibility for goods coming into the EU via the UK would remain with the UK.

At the UK port of entry our customs will have to make sure that imports comply with all UK and EU regulations and laws, as well as cope with the mountains of red tape and paperwork involved in the process.

Imports directly bound for the EU that are identifiable, legal, meet EU standards, are within quotas, quantified and sealed can be customs cleared and taxed at the appropriate EU rate for each product in the consignment.

Once that delivery is confirmed by tracking through to the EU recipients, the collected duty can be forwarded to the EU.

As the EU and UK may have different trade agreements and import duty rates on the same goods, the UK will have to tax all other imports at the EU or UK level, whichever is the higher, in order to prevent fraud.

The UK will have to track all UK imports through to the end user, first in order to decide whether EU or UK import duty should have been be paid – and refund the difference where goods are to remain in the UK if EU duty is higher – and subsequently to deal with the much bigger problem arising after the UK makes new trade agreements with countries all over the world.

As soon as EU and UK standards diverge it will be essential to ensure that goods legally imported into the UK that do not meet EU standards, regulations and laws are neither sold on to the EU nor used in products that will be sold in the EU.

For example, the UK might soon be importing meat from the US which is banned in the EU. If use of this meat is not carefully monitored by the UK there could very soon be blanket bans on on some UK food products in the EU.

It would be ironic if in many cases EU importers found that it could be to their advantage to bring goods in through the UK, which would be providing a full, free customs border service for the EU.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

JEREMY Corbyn knows that with the Leave vote coagulating around the Tories, he has very little chance of being able to sweep into power on his own steam (Jeremy Corbyn DENIES claim he supports Scottish independence, May 11).

Scottish Labour is also frightened that backing Clause 11 may consign them to another five years in the wilderness. English local election results suggested there may be another hung parliament after the next election.

If the Tories cannot muster a majority, due to Brexit having been perceived as a cock-up south of the Border, the opposition parties may just have enough MPs to put Corbyn in number 10.

Would he do a deal with the SNP, securing their support for his government in return for a Section 30 order allowing Scotland to hold a referendum? Or would he rather form a grand coalition with the Tories, to preserve the Union? Interesting to speculate.

Neil Munro