Chuka Umunna urges Jeremy Corbyn to put 'clear red water' between Labour and Tories on Brexit

Posted On: 
1st February 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to put "clear red water" between Labour and the Conservatives on Brexit by one of his senior MPs.

Chuka Umunna wants Britain to stay in the single market and customs union.
Credit: 
PA Images

Former Shadow Cabinet member Chuka Umunna said the Labour leader should support keeping the UK in the single market and the customs union even after it leaves the European Union.

Mr Corbyn again stopped short of endorsing that position today, despite the majority of Labour members endorsing it.

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He said: "What we plan is a tariff-free trade relationship with Europe, a form of customs union, and a trade relationship that guarantees our manufacturing industry and our service industries can continue to trade with Europe and they can continue to trade with us."

But Mr Umunna, who supports the pro-EU Open Britain campaign group, said that was not good enough, and suggested his leader was failing to provide strong enough opposition to the Tories on Brexit.

He said: "The overwhelming majority of Labour members and voters want the party to speak out clearly and unambiguously against the Government's plans for a hard and destructive Brexit.

"Labour supporters cannot understand why the party’s official position on Brexit continues to cling so closely to that of the Conservative government.

"For the sake of jobs, prosperity and investment, for strong public services, and for opportunities for the next generation, Labour needs to put clear red water between the party’s position and that of the Conservatives and back British membership of the single market and the customs union."

Mr Corbyn has been hit by a string of rebellions over Labour's Brexit policy, with around 60 of his MPs bitterly opposed to the party's official position that leaving the EU should also mean quitting the single market and customs union.