Ian Murray brands Labour leadership single market stance "utter disingenuous claptrap"

Written by Kevin Schofield on 22 January 2018 in News

Ian Murray, the former Shadow Scottish Secretary, hit out after McDonnell defended the party's decision to reject permanent membership of the single market after Brexit

Image credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images

Ian Murray has blasted the Labour leadership’s stance on the single market, accusing shadow chancellor John McDonnell of talking “claptrap" after he suggested the UK could continue to enjoy the same benefits of European single market membership even if it quits the free trade agreement.

Murray, the former Shadow Scottish Secretary, hit out after McDonnell defended the party's decision to reject permanent membership of the single market after Brexit.

Other pro-EU Labour MPs also made clear their opposition to the party leadership's stance, as the party's splits on Brexit once again burst into the open.

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr McDonnell said: "We would like the benefits of the single market. That's subject to negotiation ... It would not be the same single market, but access to a single market."

But Edinburgh South MP Mr Murray posted on Twitter: "What utter disingenuous claptrap. The EU has made it clear that you can’t be in a single market with “all the same benefits” without participating in “the” single market. If you want all the same benefits you have to be in it."

Former Shadow Cabinet member Chuka Umunna also made clear his opposition to Labour's official stance.

He tweeted: “If you want 'access' to the Single Market, you'll have to comply with many of its rules. You won't get the 'benefits' of the Single Market unless you are a member of it as Emmanuel Macron and others have made clear. The TUC have got this right - stay in the Single Market.”

A Labour source said: "Across the movement there is deep unhappiness at the party's position."

Nearly 50 Labour MPs defied Mr Corbyn last week to back an amendment to the Government's EU Withdrawal Bill calling for the UK to remain in the single market.

Former Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie said: "There’s a growing number of Labour colleagues who feel so strongly about the threat of Brexit austerity that they will - with regret - break the whip to defend the interests of their constituents. When it comes to the single market I hope our frontbench will get off the fence before long."

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