Working out Labour’s position on the single market is no easy task. Jeremy Corbyn has said Brexit will mean Britain leaves it. So far, so simple. But not everyone in the party – including Corbyn himself, who has since guaranteed access to the single market – appears to agree.
Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, suggested that it would be better to stay put as a member of the single market. But that stance is news to shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner, who could not have been clearer when he told Sky News: ‘We will not be members of the single market’.
Unfortunately, a number of his other colleagues don’t agree, including Tom Watson, who told Newsnight that being part of the customs union and single market might end up being a permanent outcome of Brexit talks. But shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it didn’t seem ‘feasible’ that Britain would still be a member of the single market after Brexit. And what about the shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer? When asked whether Labour would back Britain staying inside the customs union, he told the Today programme: ‘We say leave that option on the table. We certainly wouldn’t rule it out’.
Confused? You’re not alone. To help readers, Mr S has compiled a handy two minute compilation of where Labour frontbenchers stand on the issue of Britain’s single market membership.