Cake for Labour, too

The Guardian - - NATIONAL BREXIT - Pe­ter Walker

The shadow busi­ness sec­re­tary has de­scribed Labour’s Brexit pol­icy as “have our cake and eat it”, while con­ced­ing it would be dif­fi­cult to keep sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union ben­e­fits with­out ma­jor con­ces­sions.

Re­becca Long-Bai­ley said main­tain­ing ac­cess to, or even mem­ber­ship of, the cus­toms union and sin­gle mar­ket could prove prob­lem­atic. Asked on BBC1’s Sun­day Pol­i­tics about sin­gle­mar­ket mem­ber­ship af­ter leav­ing the EU, she said the party must “re­spect the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum, re­spect the will of the peo­ple in terms of hav­ing greater con­trol over our laws, greater con­trol over our bor­ders”.

“If we could ne­go­ti­ate mem­ber­ship of the sin­gle mar­ket whilst deal­ing with free move­ment and deal­ing with the other is­sues then that would be great, but I think that’s prob­a­bly un­likely and we’ll have to be look­ing at a more flex­i­ble ap­proach that main­tains the ben­e­fits that we cur­rently have in the sin­gle mar­ket whilst per­haps not be­ing a mem­ber.”

On cus­toms union, Long-Bai­ley, pic­tured be­low, said: “We want to main­tain the ben­e­fits that we cur­rently have within the cus­toms union – we want to have our cake and eat it, as do most par­ties in West­min­ster.”

She said Bri­tain should try to keep the ben­e­fits of the cus­toms union while be­ing able to ne­go­ti­ate its trade deals. Asked if such an ap­proach was un­ten­able, she said: “That’s the whole point of ne­go­ti­a­tions. Not to be un­ten­able, but to ne­go­ti­ate the po­si­tion. Our end goal is to main­tain the ben­e­fits we cur­rently have as part of the cus­toms union and the sin­gle mar­ket. “The ma­chin­ery that we use to do that, whether it’s through out­side agree­ments or ne­go­ti­at­ing some form of amend­ment set­tle­ment as part of mem­ber­ship, that’s a moot point, quite frankly. But we need to make sure that we have the same ben­e­fits.”

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