Labour Could Keep UK in EU Single Market, Says Shadow Brexit Minister

Jennifer Chapman

If Labour were in power they would want the UK to continue paying into the Brussels budget to keep the UK locked inside the European Union (EU) Single Market, a shadow Brexit minister has said.

Jennifer Chapman (pictured, centre), the MP for Darlington, said her party would consider paying into the EU coffers after 2019, contradicting statements from other Labour politicians and making Labour’s position on Brexit even more unclear.

A condition of Single Market membership is open borders and free movement of people.

“We would leave the Single Market on the table and it may be that there’s an arrangement that’s in the UK’s best interest that involves some sort of payment for access,” she told BBC Radio 5.

Adding: “That is something that we would leave on the table, unlike the Government who has decided we don’t want to be part of the Customs Union or the Single Market.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously said that the Single Market and EU membership are “inextricably linked” and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has said staying in the market would be a been seen as a “betrayal”.

However, both men have frequently changed their position. Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, is amongst a raft of senior Labour figures to demand a second Brexit vote.

Speaking on the Pienaar’s Politics programme, Ms. Chapman claimed Labour would have “built a better relationship” with the EU and avoided a deadlock that saw the European Parliament pass a motion delaying the start of trade talks because no “sufficient progress” was made on key issues such as the Brexit divorce bill.

She continued: “We’re a year and a half into this process, they’ve made virtually no progress and it’s no wonder there’s frustration.

“We need to fulfil the test that we’ve set for a Brexit deal and we would keep these things on the table for the time being because we are not actually onto trade talks yet.

“We’re still trying to deal with these phase one issues so until we make sufficient progress on those, these other issues are not even being discussed in Brussels.”