Empire 2.0: the fantasy that’s fuelling Tory divisions on Brexit

Goal to renew Commonwealth ties may explain willingness to risk toppling May government

To understand the Conservatives in the House of Commons who would rather topple their government than allow it to sign off on a new customs union with the EU to secure peace on the island of Ireland, it pays to go back half a century.

When Britain first expressed its intention in the early 1960s to join the European Economic Community, the forerunner to the EU, it bought about half of New Zealand’s total exports.

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