Cummings claims PM didn’t understand customs union until October 2020

The Prime Minister did not “even vaguely understand” the meaning of exiting the EU customs union until October 2020, his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has claimed in a blog post.

Writing on his Substack page, Cummings alleges he would “never forget the look on his face” when Brexit Minister Lord Frost told him what it meant at the eleventh hour of  negotiations.

He claims the Prime Minister “sat back in his chair and looked around the room with appalled disbelief and shook his head” and “horrified officials’ phones pinged around the Cabinet table.” 

The customs union eliminated tariffs for trade between the UK and other states in the union. Tariffs are taxes on goods entering a territory. The single market harmonises regulations, which means goods within it are required to be made to the same standards. Outside of such a union, checks at the border are required to make sure people are paying the right tax and complying with the regulations.

The government is yet to introduce its post-Brexit border checks.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland remains in the EU’s customs union.