29 August 2017

Labour could keep Britain in the Single Market and signed up to EU rules permanently, claims shadow minister

LABOUR could keep Britain in the Single Market and signed up to EU rules permanently despite Brexit, claims a shadow minister.

Jack Dromey is the latest senior figure in the party to suggest the new position laid out at the weekend has “left open the option of a form of continuing membership”.

Jack Dromey is the latest Labour figure to suggest party could keep UK under EU rule permanently

On Sunday Sir Keir Starmer said if Jeremy Corbyn gets into Number 10 then the UK would sign up to a “transitional deal” once we exit the bloc in 2019.

This would mean we would still have access the lucrative Single Market for businesses to carry on trading with the continent – but would also mean we would have to keep an open door immigration system.

Pro-EU Labour figures have jumped on this change in party policy – suggesting it could be a backdoor way of keeping us under Brussels control on a permanent basis, especially after Mr Corbyn admitted he had no idea how long the interim phase would last.

Yesterday Lord Wood, a senior advisor under ex-Labour leaders Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, said it was “definitely possibility” the transitional period would buy Remainers the time to persuade voters to change their mind.

He said a transitional deal “become something that’s very difficult to move out of” and predicted voters who backed Brexit would get “buyers’ remorse” during the interim period.

And pushed if she secretly wanted a transition period to last forever, ex-frontbencher Heidi Alexander told ITV: “I think that if there isn’t a better offer on the table then staying in the Single Market and Customs Union permanently would be the right thing for the country.”

Labour’s new Brexit policy could be used to stop Britain leaving the EU altogether

Today the shadow business minister Mr Dromey said the UK must remain in the single market to protect industries such as the automotive sector.

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail he said Shadow Brexit Secretary Mr Starmer had confirmed it would remain in the single market for a transitional period “but left open the option of a form of continuing membership thereafter”.

He added: “We cannot cut ourselves off from Britain’s biggest market, which is the EU.”

It comes after senior Labour activist Richard Angell demanded party bosses make the demand to stay in the Single Market “permanent”.

He wrote: “While the Labour leadership’s new attitude towards the single market and customs union during the Brexit transition period is welcome, we need to put more pressure on to ensure that that position is built on, rather than watered down.”

Urging other Labour figures to break cover, he added: “The only way we can keep Britain in the single market is if Labour MPs lead the way.”

On Sunday Sir Keir Starmer outlined Labours new Brexit policy

This is despite Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell saying earlier this summer that: “I think people would interpret membership of the single market as not respecting that referendum.”

And today Brexiteer Labour MP Kate Hoey said adopting “soft Brexit” as official policy risks an exodus of voters to Ukip.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It is very worrying to those of us that want to support the view of the British public, which was overwhelmingly to vote to leave.

“This is moving towards a kind of mushy blancmange, which is really not in the interests of this country.”

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