Ian Blackford calls for cross party talks to stop hard Brexit

Written by John Ashmore on 28 December 2017 in News

Ian Blackford calls on MPs across the Commons to "put politics aside and work together, in the national interest, to protect our place in the single market and customs union"

Image credit: PA 

The SNP's Westminster leader has written to Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition leaders calling for a New Year summit to fight against a so-called 'hard Brexit'.

In an open letter today, Ian Blackford calls on MPs across the Commons to "put politics aside and work together, in the national interest, to protect our place in the single market and customs union".

"Short of retaining our EU membership, that is by far the least damaging option, the best compromise, and the only way to protect jobs, incomes, and workers’ rights," Blackford added.

His move comes as ministers prepare to enter the next phase of Brexit negotiations, with discussions on a transition deal in the early months of 2018 and talks on the future trading relationship due to begin in March.

Although the Lib Dems, the Greens and Plaid Cymru all share the SNP's stance on remaining in the single market and the customs union, Labour's position is less clear.

Last week Corbyn suffered a significant rebellion when 64 Labour MPs - almost a quarter of the parliamentary party - backed an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill calling for continued membership of the customs union.

Meanwhile a new poll reveals that a quarter of Labour voters would consider switching party because the party's position on Brexit is unclear.

According to YouGov, 32 per cent of Labour Remain voters believe the party is "completely against Brexit", while 31 per cent of Labour Leave voters believe that Labour is "completely in favour of Brexit".

The poll also found that 63 per cent of Labour voters would be "delighted or pleased" if the party came out against Brexit, with 22 per cent saying they would feel the same if it vowed to go ahead with leaving the EU.

Tory rifts over Europe have also flared up with calls from senior members of the party to expel former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine after he said a government led by Corbyn would be preferable to the "long-term disaster" of Brexit.

Former Cabinet minister Lord Tebbit said his one time ministerial colleague should have the party whip withdrawn over the comments.

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