EXCL Jeremy Corbyn facing fresh Brexit rebellion as Labour MPs launch new bid to keep UK in customs union

Posted On: 
9th January 2018

Jeremy Corbyn is facing another Brexit rebellion after Labour MPs backed a fresh bid to keep Britain in the EU customs union.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigning for Remain in the EU referendum.
PA Images

More than 20 have backed an amendment to the Government's Trade Bill demanding that the option of remaining in the trading arrangement be kept on the table.

The move is in defiance of the Labour leader, who has insisted that the UK must quit both the single market and customs union when it leaves the EU.

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Among those backing the idea, which has been proposed by Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray, is Alex Cunningham, who PoliticsHome revealed had quit the Labour frontbench after breaking the party whip to support customs union membership.

Mr Murray said: "The Trade Bill provides yet another opportunity to press the Government on why they want all the benefits of the customs union but have chosen to take participating in it off the table.

"If we demand a Brexit that protects our economy, jobs and future prosperity then the customs union and single market are critical.  The Government and opposition can’t deliver what they claim they want to deliver without, at the very least, keeping these on the negotiating table."

Mr Corbyn has been criticised for again ruling out UK membership of the EU single market after Brexit.

The Labour leader told a meeting of his MPs last night that staying in the single market was tantamount to remaining in the EU and would betray the referendum result.

One MP said: "Corbyn again claimed that no country can be in the single market but outside the EU - clearly Norway needs to get in touch."

Meanwhile, the Labour leader was also criticised for snubbing a meeting of opposition party leaders campaigning to keep Britain in the single market.

Mr Corbyn was represented by an empty chair at the summit, which was organised by Ian Blackford, the SNP's leader at Westminster.

In a joint statement, Mr Blackford, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable, Green MP Caroline Lucas and Liz Saville-Roberts of Plaid Cymru said: "With the clock ticking, it is now more important than ever that we have a united and effective opposition holding the UK government to account, and working together in the national interest to prevent the most damaging excesses of a hard Brexit or no deal scenario.

"We are jointly committed to providing that opposition, and call on Labour to join with us - to fail to do so would be an abdication of responsibility, and would make Labour just as culpable for the lasting damage a hard Brexit would do to UK jobs and prosperity."