Sunday, 27 August 2017

Labour accused of ‘betraying’ voters with new Brexit policy.

The Labour Leave group said the policy shift 
could alienate voters (Photo: Getty) 
Labour has been accused of betraying thousands of its Leave-voting supporters after the party announced a dramatic policy shift on Brexit, arguing that freedom of movement must continue for up to four years after the UK leaves the EU.

The move, announced by shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, commits the party to keeping Britain in the EU single market and customs union beyond March 2019, the date at which the UK is officially set to leave the bloc.
“Our danger is that the country will think we’re up to tricks”

Frank Field MP
Arguing for current arrangements to continue for a transitional period after Brexit, Sir Keir said this would avoid an economic “cliff edge” and allow the uninterrupted flow of goods, services and people while the details of the UK’s deal with the EU are finalised.

He did not put a time limit on the transition period, only saying it should be “as short as possible but as long as necessary”. However, the party is understood to regard a period of between two and four years as realistic.
“Labour would seek a transitional deal that maintains the same basic terms that we currently enjoy with the EU,” Sir Keir wrote in the Observer.

“That means we would seek to remain in a customs union with the EU and within the single market during this period. It means we would abide by the common rules of both.”

Labour’s new position puts it directly at odds with the Conservatives, who have said the UK should leave both the EU single market and customs union on the day of Brexit.

While the policy was welcomed by many pro-European Labour MPs, Ukip accused Labour of “betraying” Brexit voters. There was also a warning of a backlash from the third of Labour supporters who voted Leave.

A spokesman for the Labour Leave group said seven out of 10 Labour constituencies backed Brexit, adding: “Single market membership is EU membership in all but name. Labour must honour the referendum.”

The Labour MP Frank Field, who backed Leave, also warned that the policy could result in the party being given a “smack in the eye” from voters.

“We mustn’t be beguiled by wolves in sheeps’ clothing,” the MP for Birkenhead told i. “The majority of Labour MPs are Remainers, and most of their constituencies voted to Leave.

“They’ve already risen from their political death-beds once, andthey need to remain off their political death-beds by respecting the vote of their constituencies, rather than going for any tricks.”

He added: “If we’re wanting to try and meet Labour voters and not get a smack in the eye again, we ought to be very careful in respecting the referendum result.

“The advantage Mrs May has is the country knows she’s leaving. Our danger is that the country will think we’re up to tricks.”

Sir Keir also suggested that the UK may never have to leave the EU single market if Labour wins the next election, claiming it may be able to persuade the bloc to give Britain the ability to curb immigration from other member states.

By Chris Green.

Culled from I News.

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