In a resolute move that will draw a clear dividing line across the parliament in the UK, the Labour Party fully committed to the Single Market on February 25, clarifying the party’s position and bringing it in line with the Scottish National Party and the Liberals.
The announcement was announced by Brexit Shadow Secretary Sir Keir Starmer, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn expected to officially the commitment later on Monday. n excerpts of his speech leaked to the press, Corbyn says that leaving the Single Market cannot be seen as “a solution to every problem”.
Starmer said this was the only realistic way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland and the decision to commit to the Single Market reflects the “unanimous” position of the shadow cabinet.
Remain supporters in the Conservative Party were encouraged by Starmer to keep an open mind and help Labour prevent the UK leaving the European Union’s Single Market, saying Britain was more likely to achieve new trade agreements by working “jointly with the EU” if they remained in the trade bloc.
In a statement to the Observer, Labour backbencher Chuka Umunna said leaving the Single Market could “torpedo” anti-austerity and investment plans.
Theresa May’s Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said Labour’s position would place the UK in an indefensible rule-taking position similar to Turkey. Instead, Mr. Fox says that his office is working with 21 countries to have a trade agreement in place as soon as Brexit comes into force in March 2019.
Fox says a vote in parliament has been delayed so that the government can make the case for leaving the Customs Union.
Former Conservative leader Ian Duncan Smith warned Tory MPs that the move is a ploy by Labour to bring down the government, which could lead to a further damaging of the UK’s standing.