Labour MPs erupted in fury tonight after Jeremy Corbyn suggested Britain should give up its membership of the EU’s single market.
The Labour leader attacked a raft of EU rules which countries must sign up to if they want to be part of the single market, allowing them to trade tariff-free trade with the rest of Europe.
Mr Corbyn accused Brussels of pushing privatisation and de-regulation in business, and said many EU’s rules should be ditched by Britain after Brexit .
But Brussels chiefs have made clear that doing so would mean the end of our single market membership – potentially hitting the British economy hard.
Mr Corbyn’s leadership rival Owen Smith said: Trade with Europe is in our national economic interest. It brings jobs, growth and investment.
“Tens of thousands of Labour members and trade unionists will be worried to hear that Jeremy Corbyn appears to agree (Tory Brexit Secretary) with David Davis that our membership of the single market is not worth fighting for.
Former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, who is part of the pro-EU ‘Open Britain’ campaign, added: Labour should be fighting for Britain to stay in the single market, not turning a blind eye to its advantages.
Backbencher Mike Gapes called Mr Corbyn’s position deplorable.
Former shadow Commons leader Chris Bryant told LBC Labour was in danger of becoming a “wild woolly sandal-wearing protest movement”.
And Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale distanced herself from Mr Corbyn and said she wants Scotland to remain in the EU if possible.
@NicolaSturgeon @JasonGroves1 Just sent you a very clear statement of support and clarity on this issue pic.twitter.com/7jRFEoj2Xw
The row erupted after Mr Corbyn used a speech in the House of Commons on Britain’s post- Brexit future to attack Europe’s ‘free market dogma’.
“I urge the Prime Minister to stand with me against the use of Britain’s aid and trade policies to further the agenda of deregulation and privatisation, he said.
Speaking afterwards Mr Corbyn’s spokesman slammed the EU’s support for privatisation and repeatedly refused to say that Britain should remain a full member of the single market.
In a statement issued tonight Mr Corbyn insisted he does wants ‘full access’ to the single market – but made clear he would not sign up to the rules which permit it.
In particular he slammed the EU’s ‘state aid’ laws – which stop countries favouring their own industries when handing out contracts – and the EU’s drive to privatise services in developing countries.
We will be pressing for full access to the European single market for goods and services as part of those negotiations, Mr Corbyn said.
But there are directives and obligations linked to the single market, such as state aid rules and requirements to liberalise and privatise public services, which we would not want to see as part of a post- Brexit relationship.
Brussels chiefs have made clear that full membership of the single market is dependant on signing up to all EU rules, including key issues such as state aid.
Asked directly if Mr Corbyn therefore wants to abandon membership, his spokesman replied: We want access to the single market, we want access in goods and services – but we don’t want the continuation of those kinds of requirements as part of a package.
Mr Corbyn’s stance effectively puts him in a similar position to Prime Minister Theresa May, who has already vowed to end the free movement of people from Europe – another key requirement of single market membership.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: This shows Jeremy Corbyn’s true colours. His heart was never in the referendum campaign and his heart certainly isn’t in fighting for the best deal possible now. The single market is vital to the jobs and livelihoods of millions of British people but he won’t fight for it.”
E-mails leaked to BuzzFeed News tonight suggested Mr Corbyn’s office refused to endorse research during the referendum campaign that said the single market could create 1.3million jobs.
On Monday Brexit Secretary Mr Davis admitted this meant continued membership of the single market is “improbable”.
Mrs May says this is not the official Government’s position – but today refused four times to say if she wants to keep Britain in the single market.
She told MPs she will not give a ‘running commentary’ on Brexit talks.
However the new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, later revealed she wants Britain to maintain its involvement with key EU security arrangements including the European Arrest Warrant and crime-fighting agency EuroPol.
News Source MirrorNews