Published On: Mon, May 7th, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn condemned for ‘complete COWARDICE’ and 'going against' Labour values

The Labour leader is under intense pressure to allow Labour MPs to back a bid to keep the UK in the single market after Brexit.

Labour’s Lord Alli accused the party leadership of “complete cowardice” by ordering fellow MPs to refrain from voting.

Former shadow cabinet minister Chuka Umunna said it would “go against Labour’s progressive values” not to back the move in Parliament this Tuesday.

Mr Umunna, a supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, said staying in the single market was “important in avoiding a return to a hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

He added: ”Given the numbers of Conservative MPs now supporting the UK continuing to participate in the European Economic Area (EEA), Labour is looking a gift horse in the mouth.

“We can keep the UK in the EEA – and its protections for workers, consumers and the environment – by supporting this move.

“We know the damage leaving the single market will do to our economy, to public services and to our NHS, so it would go against Labour’s progressive values for the party not to vote in favour of these amendments tabled by Lord Alli, a leading equalities campaigner, in the Lords.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Labour party must promise a “traditional British compromise”, balancing the interests of Leave and Remain voters.

Alison McGovern, co-chair of the Labour Campaign for the Single Market, said: “The Government’s own analysis shows that crashing out of the single market will cause a crippling hit to our economy, which is why it made no sense for Theresa May to rule out single market membership before the Brexit negotiations had even started.

“If passed, these amendments in the Lords would be a big step forward in avoiding a hard and destructive Brexit, which is why all Labour Peers should get behind them.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting said: “I think it is incredible that Labour seems to be the biggest stumbling block to remaining in the single market.”

He told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “I hope we will get some movement on this.”

But Mr Gardiner, who has said the EEA model would leave the UK a “vassal state” of the EU, told the BBC’s Sunday Politics: “The EEA option would actually have less control, we would be bound by the regulations but we would have no seat at the table in deciding what those regulations were.”

He added: “We should not vote for a substantive amendment that talks about staying in the EEA.”

Mr McDonnell told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “What people want is a traditional British compromise.

“Respect the referendum result, but get the best deal you can to protect our economy and protect our jobs.”

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