Over 80 Labour politicians urge Jeremy Corbyn to back staying in single market

Posted On: 
25th February 2018

More than 80 Labour politicians have joined forces to urge Jeremy Corbyn to commit the party to keeping the UK in the single market. 

Labour figures have urged Jeremy Corbyn to commit to membership of the European Economic Area
Credit: 
PA

The group, which includes MPs, peers, councillors and assembly members, says the party must back membership of the European Economic Area "as a minimum". 

With a number of Conservative rebels willing to back staying in the single market and customs union, Britain's economic future is "in the Labour party's hands", they write. 

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The signatories to the letter include over 30 MPs, along with former party leader Lord Kinnock, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson and Bill Morris, the former general secretary of Unite.

“Given the parliamentary arithmetic and the numbers of Parliamentarians from other parties – including Conservative backbenchers – who have indicated they will join us in this endeavour, our country’s continued participation in a Customs Union and the Single Market is now in the Labour party’s hands," they write.  

"For the sake of building a better Britain and safeguarding those our party was founded to protect, we must grab this chance before it is too late.  We will never be forgiven if we fail to do so.”

Jeremy Corbyn has already indicated a subtle shift in his position on the single market - having previously insisted the UK could not be a member outside the EU, earlier this week he said that Britain would not "automatically" take part, suggesting room for manoeuvre.

CUSTOMS UNION

Labour frontbenchers have also indicated a softening of the party's position on a customs union, with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry saying earlier this week that Labour would seek "a customs union that will look pretty much like the current customs union".

Mr Corbyn is expected to formally back that position in a speech tomorrow.