Fresh Labour confusion as Diane Abbott says Jeremy Corbyn is NOT ruling out staying in the single market

Written on 28 July 2017 in Diary
Diary

Another day of wrangling over Labour’s position on the single market...

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.

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.

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

And asked about 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".

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