Jeremy Corbyn rejects idea Scotland can retain single market membership when rUK leaves

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 20 January 2017 in News

Jeremy Corbyn says single market membership is a “UK-wide decision”

Jeremy Corbyn - Press Association

Jeremy Corbyn has rejected the idea of Scotland retaining membership of the single market when the rest of the UK leaves, saying it is a “UK-wide decision”.

The Scottish Government’s Brexit strategy calls for the UK to stay in the single market post-Brexit, while outlining the possibility of Scotland retaining access even if the rest of the UK exited.

But speaking in Glasgow alongside Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Corbyn rubbished the idea that Scotland could maintain membership of the European Economic Area.


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The move follows confirmation from Prime Minister Theresa May that the UK will pursue a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ – exiting the single market, ending freedom of movement and leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Scottish Brexit minister Mike Russell yesterday warned that, following May’s speech, it was time to accept the UK will exit the EU single market, and that focus must now shift to finding a means for Scotland to retain access when the rest of the UK leaves.

Speaking after meeting with representatives from the UK, Northern Irish and Welsh Governments through the Joint Ministerial Committee on Brexit, Russell said it was “absolutely crucial” Scotland avoids a so-called hard Brexit to avoid “economic catastrophe”.

But the UK Labour leader rejected the idea of Scotland pursuing a different relationship with the EU to the rest of the UK, saying: “I think the question of single market access is and has to be a UK decision.”

Corbyn said: “We are determined to make sure there is market access to Europe where 50 per cent of UK-wide trade is with Europe, it varies from region to region. In the northeast of England, for example, the manufacturing industry is heavily dependent on Europe, as are a lot of industries across Scotland. It has to be a UK-wide decision and we will be pushing very hard for that.”

He also used the speech to accuse the SNP of "simply passing on Tory austerity", saying the party "stand up for the establishment" north of the border while acting left-wing at Westminster.

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