Jeremy Corbyn insists UK cannot be part of single market after Brexit
Jeremy Corbyn has shut down the prospect of Labour pushing for Britain to remain part of the single market after Brexit.
Mr Corbyn said membership of the institution was “inextricably linked” to being part of the EU, despite 49 Labour MPs last month backing an amendment for the UK to stay in the single market.
It is the clearest repudiation yet of those pushing for the so-called “Norway option” of staying part of the European Economic Area.
Asked on the Andrew Marr Show for clarity on Labour’s policy on the single market membership, Mr Corbyn said it was “dependent on membership of the EU”.
The Labour leader added: “The two things are inextricably linked. Yes. The question is then the kind of trade relationship in the future, and we have made it very clear we want tariff-free trade access with the European market.”
Shortly after Mr Corbyn’s appearance, Shadow Cabinet minister Barry Gardiner suggested that the decision not to pursue single market membership was a response to Labour’s interpretation of the referendum result, rather than a technical inability to remain in.
The Shadow International Trade Secretary told Sky: “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.”
Chuka Umunna, the Labour MP who tabled the amendment pushing for single market membership, pointed out that a number of EEA members were not part of the EU.
Mr Corbyn was also quizzed on Labour’s vision of a post-Brexit immigration system.
He reiterated that the party would not support a continuation of free movement, and that immigration would be managed “on the basis of the jobs available and their [migrants’] skill set”.
“It would be on the basis of the economic needs and skills required… The need for nurses, for example, is huge and we now have a problem of a nurse shortage,” he added.
And Mr Corbyn hit out at the Government for seeking a trade deal with the US, after it announced it was withdrawing from the Paris climate change treaty.
He said: “President Trump has said they wish to leave it. Therefore, that calls into question this Government’s strategy on a one-off trade deal with the United States, which sounds awfully like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to me.”