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I am Elizabeth Piper at Westminster for Reuters. Today, Prime Minister Theresa May was handed an embarrassing defeat by the House of Lords, Britain's upper house of Parliament. They have questioned her plan to leave the European Union's Customs Union.
In an amendment that was widely passed by the upper house of Parliament, they said that the government must come back with a report by October to say what efforts they had made to stay in the Customs Union. Pro Brexit campaigners said they weren't worried by the development. They said this will have little impact on Theresa May's plans to leave the European Union, leaving behind its single market, its Customs Union, and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
But for Pro EU lawmakers, this of course, gives them a little more oxygen to fuel their views on why Britain should stay in the Customs Union. Of course, if we did stay in the Customs Union, this would mean that the whole issue about the Northern Ireland problem. The new border that will be formed between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could be dealt with very simply.
Theresa May is a unionist. She really does want the United Kingdom to stay together and that is her main aim in these talks. She does not want to see the United Kingdom broken up. But she also has pledged to leave the Customs Union. Now one former aide I spoke to recently suggested that a customs union could still be on the table.
Whether it would be called that, as such, but some kind of customs deal could actually get over all the hurdles left to jump. So this development today, while a defeat for the government, and no one can say it isn't, may be just yet another small bump in the road to Brexit.