‘Hard-Brexit’ Corbyn faces backlash
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing a growing backlash from his colleagues after he said, if he was prime minister, he would not seek to retain membership of the single market after leaving the European Union.
Contradicting the Labour leader, Carwyn Jones (pictured), Wales’ First Minister, however, said there was no need to leave the single market and that access could be maintained through a Norway-style model.
Jones told the BBC: “If we’re not in the single market, we would be having a debate about how to access it, not how to leave it.
“There is no need to leave the single market, even as we leave the EU,” he said. His remarks were repeated by Labour MPs on social media, pointing to the opposition party’s divides on the issue.
Corbyn said on Sunday that Britain must leave the single market because it was “inextricably linked” to membership of the EU. Labour’s ambiguous manifesto for the June 8 general election pledged to focus on “retaining the benefits” of the single market and customs union but did not say whether Britain would remain inside.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Brexit would push up sausage prices, as wholesale pork and beef prices soared since last year as a result of the weak pound and a surge in export demands.
The cost of beef has hit an all-time high with prices up almost 40p per kg compared with July 2016 and an 11-per-cent increase year on year, according to Beacon, a purchasing consortium which buys food for restaurants and hotels.
But while beef prices were due to stabilise in the longer term, the report said pork would remain at high levels.
Amid dire predictions for the UK economy, Labour’s divides deepen.
Wes Streeting, a Labour MP and leading supporter of Open Britain, which campaigns against a hard Brexit, criticised Corbyn. He said: “The idea that membership of the single market means membership of the EU is factually untrue – look at Norway and Iceland for a start.
“Labour needs to fight for a Brexit deal that puts jobs first, protects our economy, and retains rights for workers. Leaving the single market would undermine all those objectives. Leaving the biggest and freest trading bloc in the world will cost jobs, and the loss of protections enshrined in EU law could make it easier for a Tory government to cut workers’ rights.
“Staying in the single market while leaving the EU is perfectly possible, and would be the best Brexit deal for working people and Labour communities.”
Breaking ranks. Carwyn Jones, Wales’ First Minister. Picture credit: Wikimedia