'Disingenuous claptrap' - John McDonnell sparks Labour backlash with single market comments

Posted On: 
21st January 2018

A former Labour frontbencher has accused John McDonnell of talking "claptrap" after he suggested the UK could continue to enjoy the same benefits of European single market membership even if it quits the free trade agreement.

John McDonnell was interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show.

Ian Murray, who was Shadow Scottish Secretary, hit out after the Shadow Chancellor defended the party's decision to reject permanent membership of the single market after Brexit.

Other pro-EU Labour MPs also made clear their opposition to the party leadership's stance, as the party's splits on Brexit once again burst into the open.

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Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr McDonnell said: "We would like the benefits of the single market. That's subject to negotiation ... It would not be the same single market, but access to a single market."

But Edinburgh South MP Mr Murray posted on Twitter: "What utter disingenuous claptrap. The EU has made it clear that you can’t be in a single market with “all the same benefits” without participating in “the” single market. If you want all the same benefits you have to be in it."

Hove and Portslade MP Peter Kyle suggested Mr McDonnell was on another planet.

Former Shadow Cabinet member Chuka Umunna also made clear his opposition to Labour's official stance.

A Labour source said: "Across the movement there is deep unhappiness at the party's position."

Nearly 50 Labour MPs defied Mr Corbyn last week to back an amendment to the Government's EU Withdrawal Bill calling for the UK to remain in the single market.

former Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie said: "There’s a growing number of Labour colleagues who feel so strongly about the threat of Brexit austerity that they will - with regret - break the whip to defend the interests of their constituents. When it comes to the single market I hope our frontbench will get off the fence before long."