Jeremy Corbyn suggests Britain could stay in the single market permanently after Brexit

Posted On: 
11th September 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested Britain could stay in the European single market permanently after Brexit - just weeks after ruling it out. 

Jeremy Corbyn pictured at Prime Minister's Questions
Credit: 
PA

The Labour leader said long-term membership was "open for discussion and negotiation" with Brussels.

But in July, Mr Corbyn appeared to rule it out, arguing that being in the single market was "inextricably linked" to being an EU member.

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Since then, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has said that Labour is in favour of continued single market membership during any post-Brexit transition period.

Appearing on Radio Four's 'World At One' programme, Mr Corbyn appeared to go even further by hinting it could be a permanent arrangement.

He said: "There has to be a trade relationship with Europe – whether that is formally within the single market or whether that’s an agreement to trade within the single market I think is open for discussion and negotiation."

But he confused matters by again stating that membership of the single market is “only possible, I believe, if you’re actually a member of the EU”.

Contrary to Mr Corbyn’s claim, three European nations – Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland – do enjoy membership of the single market without being in the EU.

‘THINKING ALOUD’

The veteran left-winger went on to claim that some of the interventions from his frontbench colleagues were simply floating ideas, rather than elaborating party policy.

“There’s a great deal of coherence in the position and that is we accept the result of the referendum, we want tariff-free trade access with Europe, we want a close relationship with Europe,” he said.

“We’re not setting up some Singapore-style economy on the shores of Europe and some colleagues sometimes think aloud about what’s possible and not possible in the future."

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "Our position hasn't changed. We won't be "members" of the single market after the transition. We want to achieve full tariff free access to the single market. That could be achieved by a new relationship with the single market or a bespoke trade deal with the EU, which was what Jeremy was referring to."