Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on single market opens up fresh Labour Brexit rift

Written by Josh May on 25 July 2017 in News

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones insists there is “no need” to leave the trading area as part of Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on the single market has opened up a fresh rift in Labour, with the Welsh First Minister insisting there is “no need” to leave the trading area as part of Brexit.

Corbyn said yesterday being part of the single market was “dependent on membership of the EU”, and that the two institutions were “inextricably linked”.

Barry Gardiner, the Shadow International Trade Secretary, went on to warn the UK would be a “vassal state” if it pursued the so-called “Norway option” of being members of the European Economic Area.


When it comes to immigration Theresa May seems to have no idea what she is doing

Alasdair Allan on making Scotland's voice heard

A place to call home: How the Brexit vote has left Europeans in Scotland feeling lost

That led Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who has been pressing the leadership to change tack on this issue, to highlight a number of non-EU countries who are also members of the single market.

And this morning Carwyn Jones, the Welsh Labour leader and First Minister, said there was “no need to leave the single market” as long as the UK accepted the EU’s rules.

He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t accept that that’s [leaving the single market] necessary at all. I went to Norway in January; they are not members of the EU but they have almost full access to the single market.

“We don’t have to leave the EU and leave one of the world’s biggest markets at the same time. That’s an interpretation that’s been put on the referendum result by the current UK Government and that makes no sense at all.”

Jones added: “You cannot be a member of the single market unless you’re a member of the EU. In other words, you cannot have a say over the rules of how the market operates unless you’re a member.

“We can’t be a member because we’d have to be a member of the EU to do it. That doesn’t mean we can’t participate in the single market. We wouldn’t control the rules but we’d have full and unfettered access...

“Let’s have a Brexit that’s sensible; not one that’s driven, essentially, by nationalists in London.”

Umunna meanwhile argued the Tory, Ukip and Labour positions on Brexit were too close and that "clear red water" was required.

Gardiner had argued that remaining in the single market would be to defy the will British electorate which voted for Brexit last summer.

He told Sky yesterday: “There are those people in the UK who would like to see us leave membership of the European Union but retain membership of the EEA, the European Economic Area.

“Now, I don’t subscribe to that because I think most of the political reasons that people wanted to leave the European Union would actually not be achieved by doing that.”

But Jones said no politician had a “crystal ball” to know what was in people’s minds on 23 June last year.

And Labour MP Wes Streeting also hit out at Gardiner for arguing remaining a member of the customs union after Brexit would be a "disaster".


Related Articles

Chequers agreement is ‘final offer’ to the EU, Andrea Leadsom says
20 July 2018

The House of Commons leader warned Brussels they will force a no deal Brexit if they reject the proposals

Exclusive: Home Office arrested and deported dozens of Europeans for sleeping rough in Scotland last year
19 July 2018

Home Office arrested and removed 26 European nationals from Scotland for sleeping rough on the streets in a move now deemed unlawful

Brexit could force the UK to re-conduct animal testing, campaigners warn
16 July 2018

Lords to question Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey over the future of chemical regulation after the UK leaves the EU

Related Sponsored Articles

Associate feature: 5 ways IoT is transforming the public sector
5 February 2018

Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery

Share this page