Diane Abbott: Jeremy Corbyn is NOT ruling out post-Brexit single market membership

Posted On: 
28th July 2017

Diane Abbott has said Labour should not rule out keeping Britain in the single market after Brexit and that Jeremy Corbyn agrees - despite the leader rejecting the option just days ago.

Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn at the launch of Labour's 2017 election manifesto
PA Images

The Shadow Home Secretary and close ally of the Labour leader said the party was “not at this stage taking any options off the table”.

It follows days of wrangling in the party over its stance on key issues once Britain quits the EU.

Fresh Labour confusion as John McDonnell and Keir Starmer contradict Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit

Labour position on Brexit could change 'if public opinion shifts'

Former Labour frontbencher savages 'depressing' Barry Gardiner as party's Brexit splits grow

Mr Corbyn said on Sunday that staying in the single market would be tantamount to remaining in the EU since the two are “inextricably linked”.

His Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner meanwhile said being in the customs union after Brexit would be "a disaster".

But Ms Abbott told BBC Newsnight that although Mr Gardiner “seemed to suggest” Britain should quit the customs union, the plan was not Labour policy.

And asked about Mr Corbyn ruling out single market membership, she said: “I was with Jeremy Corbyn this afternoon and he’s quite clear we are not taking options off the table.

“What we are saying is that when we come out of the single market freedom of movement will obviously fall. But we are not taking options off the table.”

She added: “We believe in looking at where we want to go. And what we want from these negotiations, were we conducting them, is to have the benefits of being in the single market and being in the customs union. We are about looking at ends not structures.”

It comes after Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer also said nothing should be ruled out when it comes to the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

Earlier this week Labour campaign chief Andrew Gwynne said the party could change its position on Brexit "if public opinion shifts".

Writing for PoliticsHome this week, former Shadow Cabinet member Ian Murray also said Labour should be battling to stay in the single market and customs union.