SNP chief brands Jeremy Corbyn 'utterly pathetic' over Brexit stance
The SNP have called Jeremy Corbyn "absolutely pathetic" after he refused to back a cross-party effort to keep the UK in the single market.
The Nationalists' leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, wrote to other party leaders over Christmas calling for a soft Brexit alliance to mitigate what he claims will be the "catastrophic" effects of leaving the EU.
While the SNP's position is shared by the Lib Dems, the Greens and Plaid Cymru, the Labour leadership have not committed to keeping Britain in the single market or customs union.
Mr Corbyn has faced strong opposition from his own benches over that stance, with some 64 MPs last month backing an amendment supporting continued membership of the customs union.
In a letter to Mr Blackford, the Labour leader said the SNP's initiative was "based on a flawed assumption that the single market is a membership club - it is not".
He added: "We have consistently said that we are committed to negotiating to keep the benefits of the single market and securing the best possible deal for the whole of Britain, which protects our economy and the people of this country, whilst at the same time respecting the result of the referendum.”
That drew a stinging response from Mr Blackford, who said Mr Corbyn would be empty-chaired at an upcoming parliamentary meeting.
“With just over a year to go before the UK is set to leave the EU, it is now more important than ever that we have a united and effective opposition – holding the UK Government to account, and doing everything within our power to prevent this Tory economic catastrophe.
“It is unbelievable – and frankly, utterly pathetic – that on the single biggest issue facing the country Jeremy Corbyn has failed to show any leadership whatsoever, and is now rejecting this crucial chance to build a cross-party coalition in the national interest."