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WATCH Tom Watson: Labour is the party of soft Brexit

WATCH Tom Watson: Labour is the party of soft Brexit

John Ashmore

2 min read

Labour is "the party of soft Brexit", the party's deputy leader has declared.


There has been confusion over Labour's position on Brexit, with Jeremy Corbyn saying in July that the UK would not be a member of the single market after Brexit because it is "inextricably linked" with EU membership.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has also said single market membership would be a "betrayal" of the EU referendum result.

But Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said last weekend that Labour was now committed to keeping the UK in the single market and the customs union during any transitional period - and left open the possibility of it being a permanent arrangement.

Appearing on the BBC's Newsnight last night, Mr Watson said continued membership could yet be a "permanent outcome" of the talks with Brussels.

Asked on the BBC's Newsnight whether Labour would be happy calling itself the "party of soft Brexit", Mr Watson replied: "Yes, yes. you've seen Keir Starmer's statement. We think being part of the customs union and the single market is important in those transitional times because that's the way you protect jobs and the economy and it might be a permanent outcome of the negotiations, but we've got to see how those negotiations go."

His comments call as a cross-party group of pro-European MPs demands the Government rethink its stance on withdrawing from the customs union.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on European Relations claims businesses will face a "bureaucratic bombshell" of tariffs and red tape if Britain pulls out.

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