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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Labour MP Ian Murray Denounces His Party’s Brexit Position as ‘Claptrap’

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP defended Labour’s decision to reject permanent membership of the single market post-Brexit.

Mr Murray accused his colleague John McDonnell of talking ‘claptrap’ after he suggested the UK could continue to enjoy the same benefits of European single market membership even if it quits the free trade agreement.

Other pro-EU Labour MPs also made clear their opposition to the party leadership's position, as the party's chaotic stance on Brexit again burst into the open.

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr McDonnell said:

"We would like the benefits of the single market. That's subject to negotiation ... It would not be the same single market, but access to a single market."

Edinburgh South MP Mr Murray responded:

"What utter disingenuous claptrap. The European Union has made it clear that you can’t be in a single market with ‘all the same benefits’ without participating in ‘the’ single market. If you want all the same benefits you have to be in it."

Former Shadow Cabinet member Chuka Umunna MP also made clear his opposition to Labour's official position, adding:

“If you want 'access' to the Single Market, you'll have to comply with many of its rules. You won't get the 'benefits' of the Single Market unless you are a member of it as French President Emmanuel Macron and others have made clear. The TUC have got this right - stay in the Single Market.”

Former Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie said:

"There’s a growing number of Labour colleagues who feel so strongly about the threat of Brexit austerity that they will - with regret - break the whip to defend the interests of their constituents. When it comes to the single market I hope our frontbench will get off the fence before long."

A Labour source said:

"Across the movement there is deep unhappiness at the party's position."

Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:

“Nearly 50 Labour MPs defied Mr Corbyn last week to back an amendment to the UK Government's EU Withdrawal Bill calling for the UK to remain in the single market. In terms of the biggest issue facing the UK and Scotland, Labour’s position is hopelessly and utterly confused.

“The ultra-cynical policy of Mr Corbyn and his allies, to be all things to all voters has been unravelling for months, at a time when the UK Tory Government is proving itself hopelessly unable to secure the best possible deal for the UK and its constituent nations.

“It is time for Labour to – finally – get its act together and join with the SNP and Plaid Cymru in calling firmly and with one voice for the UK to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union.”



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