Brexit Betrayal: Labour U-Turns, Demands ‘Full Access’ to EU Single Market

Michel Barnier and Jeremy Corbyn
OLIVIER HOSLET/AFP/Getty

The Labour Party has dramatically changed its Brexit policy, promising to fight to keep the UK tied to the Single Market’s principle rules and regulations, despite making a manifesto pledge to pull out.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his team will next week push a Commons motion demanding “full access” to the bloc’s Single Market and “shared institutions and regulations” with the European Union (EU).

Brussels has been clear that open access to the market means continued open borders and uncontrolled mass migration; creating “a new comprehensive customs union” with the bloc, as Labour wants, will mean the UK does not take back control of its trade policy.

Anti-Brexit MPs immediately criticised the move, suggesting the party may as well back European Economic Area (EEA) membership, giving the nation a say on Customs Union and Single Market rules, as well as “full access”.

“We have got to ditch our addiction to constructive ambiguity on Brexit,” commented Labour MP Chuka Umunna.

“If you want the benefits of the EEA, you have to back being part of the EEA. End of story. The UK will have far more influence on EEA rules if we are part of it than if we have ‘access’ through an FTA.”

He also pointed out that the amendment was likely to fail, adding: “Only amendments which can command support on both sides of the House are cross party backbench ones like that passed by the Lords on the EEA.”

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former head of press and editor-at-large of the anti-Brexit New European, was even more damning. “Clearly tabled in the hope it is defeated. Dishonest politics. Weak leadership. Wrong thing for the country,” he tweeted.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that if Mr. Corbyn ordered his MPs to back the EEA amendment, the party would split.

He said “there are very strong and very different views across the [Parliamentary Labour Party] on that particular [House of Lords] amendment. So, whilst there’s unity on all the others and we will all be voting together, on that amendment there are very divided views.”

Earlier this year, the Labour Party denied claimed they were “secretly plotting” with Brussels bosses to keep the UK in the Customs Union.

“We have been clear all the way through that you can’t be in the Customs Union if you are not in the EU,” a spokesman said in February.

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