Published On: Fri, Jul 28th, 2017

Diane Abbott claims Labour may KEEP UK in single market – despite Corbyn's pledge

In a Newsnight interview, the Shadow Home Secretary promised Labour did not want a “hard Brexit” and that she was “absolutely sure” that Mr Corbyn voted Remain in the EU referendum vote.

Barry Gardiner, the Shadow International Trade Secretary wrote in the Guardian, that Labour’s position is to be out of the single market and the customs union because the UK would effectively be a “vassal state” and then actually what we need is a bespoke agreement.

Yet Diane Abbott said: “The Labour Party made it very clear in its manifesto that it wants a Brexit which puts jobs and the economy first. We are not, at this stage, taking any options off the table.”

When Kirsty Wark pointed out that the Mr Gardiner suggested that being out of the single market and out of the customs union might be best for the UK, the Labour MP repeated her slogan.

The Shadow Home Secretary said: “He may have seemed to suggest that but at this point, we are not taking any options off the table.

“We believe in looking where we want to go and what we want from these negotiations, were we conducting them, is to have the benefits of being in the single market and being in the customs union. We are about looking at ends not structures.”

Ms Abbott was then pressed that surely that meant she wants to remain in the customs union.

She answered: “My view is that we should not take options off the table. This is Britain’s future, this is our children’s future, it would be irresponsible to take options off the table.”

Bizarrely the Shadow Home Secretary refuted the comments Jeremy Corbyn made on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, where he made it quite clear that “the single market is dependent on membership of the EU”.

Ms Abbott weakly answered: “I was just with Jeremy Corbyn this afternoon and he is quite clear we are not taking options off the table.

“What we are saying is that when we come out of the single market, freedom of movement will obviously fall but we are not taking options off the table.”

The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington was then asked if Mr Corbyn actually voted Remain in the referendum.

She responded: “Absolutely sure. That is an absurd question. It’s almost trying to undermine all the hard work that all of us did to get the right result.”

The Newsnight presenter said there was very little evidence that Labour is doing anything to stop a hard Brexit.

Ms Abbott added: “You will see what we are doing to stop a hard Brexit when Parliament returns but I can assure you that our vision for this country going forward is very different from Theresa May and the people around her.”

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