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Jeremy Corbyn faces down critics over EU single market stance

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Jeremy Corbyn has hit out at Labour critics calling for him to back the UK staying in the single market after Brexit.

The Labour leader insisted that continuing the trade arrangement was dependent on being in the EU.

He told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “The single market is dependent on membership of the European Union.

“Do we have a trading relationship with Europe which is tariff-free, which is based on access to that market, and access of Europe to our market? Yes.

“Do we push for that in the negotiations? Yes. Is that what we have said to the European Union in opposition? Yes.

“You have to make a special relationship with the European Union.”

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A Labour source called some MPs’ claims ‘completely wrong’

But the comments sparked a swift backlash from some Labour MPs.

Chris Leslie tweeted: “The Single Market is NOT dependent on membership of the EU”. He posted the comment four times, followed by: “#worthrepeating.”

His colleague Chuka Umunna also pointed out on Sky’s Sunday with Niall Paterson that Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway were in the single market but not part of the EU28.

A Labour source told Sky News it was “completely false” to claim the single market was a “membership club”, pointing out that countries outside the EU did not get to set the terms of the trade arrangement.

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Mr Corbyn refused to say if he could change his mind on a second vote

Mr Corbyn also faced questions about Labour’s stance on a second Brexit referendum.

He said the party was “not supporting or calling” for one, but dodged questions about whether he might change his mind in the future.

His shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, earlier told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “If 90% of the population was now saying we must stay in the European Union and we must not leave then that would be a challenge that would be there for all of us who are democrats.

“But, at the moment, and as things currently stand, we proceed in good faith, we do as we are instructed and we are leaving the European Union.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams told Sky News a second referendum was “not something we support”.

MEP and former UKIP spokesperson Steven Woolfe blasted calls for another poll, which would bring the total number on EU membership up to three since 1975. “It’s not a game of tic-tac-toe – we’re not here to have the best of three,” he said.

New Conservative deputy chair James Cleverly said Mr Corbyn’s comments showed that “every step of the way, Labour are trying to frustrate the Brexit process rather than make a success of it”.



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