Jeremy Corbyn Backs Customs Union After Brexit. The right deal would mean a better relationship with the EU
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has backed the UK being in a permanent customs union with the EU. He delivered this message in a speech setting out his approach to Brexit.
He said this would avoid the need for a “hard border” in Northern Ireland. It would ensure free-flowing trade for business.
The policy shift could lead to Labour siding with Tory rebels to defeat Theresa May on her Brexit strategy.
The Tories said it was “a cynical attempt” to frustrate Brexit “and play politics with our country’s future”.
In his speech, at Coventry University, Mr Corbyn accused the Conservatives of having “no economic plan and no plan for Brexit”. He said that under Labour there would be no “scapegoating of migrants. No setting one generation against another and no playing off the nations of the UK”.
He said Labour would be “looking for a Brexit that puts the working people first”.
Labour had already backed customs union membership during the planned two-year transition period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. But in a shift from the party’s policy at last year’s general election, he said the UK should strike a new customs deal with the EU at the end of transition.
Mr Corbyn said: Labour would seek a final deal that gives full access to European markets and maintains the benefits of the single market and the customs union… with no new impediments to trade and no reduction in rights, standards and protections.
The prime minister has insisted the UK will leave both the single market and the customs union. This would allow it to negotiate its own post-Brexit trade deals.
Mrs May will give details in a speech on Friday ( March 2). She will speak about how her plan for a “managed diversion” from the EU will work in practice, after first briefing the cabinet.
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