Labour today confirmed it would support the UK leaving the Single Market amid questions over the future of Brexit.
The loss of Theresa May’s majority in Thursday’s election is deemed to have threatened the chances of a ‘hard Brexit’ – which would see the UK outside the Single Market and customs union.
With a working majority of just 8 – thanks to the support of the DUP – it would only take a handful of pro-EU Tories to vote down such a deal.
Yet speaking on the Sunday politics shows this morning, both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell said Labour would not try to keep the UK in the Single Market – suggesting they would support the Government if a vote on the matter arose.
Corbyn was asked by Andrew Marr on the BBC this morning if the UK could “stay inside the Single Market and customs union” as part of a Brexit deal.
The Labour leader replied: “The Single Market is a requirement of EU membership and since we won’t be EU members there will have to be an arrangement made.”
He added: “Where I frame it is we want a tariff-free access to the European market.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was even clearer during an interview on ITV’s Peston on Sunday less than an hour later, confirming Labour would not seek for the UK to remain in the Single Market.
He said: “I can’t see it even being on the table in the negotiations, I don’t think it’s feasible.
“But we’ve been clear all the way along, ours is a jobs-first Brexit, everything we can do to protect our economy. That must mean tariff-free access to the single market.”
Conservative Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon this morning claimed the Government’s position on Brexit has not been changed by the election result.
He said: “The new Cabinet obviously will meet early next week. Our view of Brexit I don’t think has changed.
“We want a partnership with Europe, we want an agreement that maximises our access to the single market, comes to an arrangement on immigration, continues the security cooperation we already have with Europe.
“As I say a successful Brexit, an agreement that is in the interests of us but also is in the interests of Europe.”