THE Scottish National Party was accused of “lying to the electorate” yesterday after it said Labour was backing Tory Brexit plans.
Holyrood’s Europe committee convener Joan McAlpine MSP said Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale’s claim to be “on the side of those in work” was “utterly bogus” since they supported leaving the European single market.
But Labour’s Matt Kerr — who was just 60 votes shy of seizing Glasgow South West back from the SNP’s Chris Stephens in June — slammed the nationalists’ attack as “totally disingenuous.
“People who claim you can come out of the EU but stay in the single market are collectively kidding themselves,” he retorted.
“Fundamentally the EU is the single market. There was a referendum and a decision has been made.”
Labour has committed to securing tariff-free access to the European single market, but not membership, which would involve adherence to the “four freedoms” — preventing any national restrictions on the movement of goods, services, capital or labour within the bloc.
Membership could also subject Britain to the rulings of the European Court of Justice, which has ruled that the right to strike is subordinate to corporate “freedom of establishment” in cases such as Viking and Laval and allowed companies to undermine collective bargaining by hiring foreign workers on worse rates, and place restrictions on Labour plans to extend public ownership and investment.
Mr Kerr said it was ironic that the SNP predicted disaster if Scotland were to leave the European single market when it was the party’s ambition to take the country out of the British single market, which accounts for most of its trade.
“Wherever you stand on the European question it is utterly false to say Labour is backing a Tory Brexit — the Tories want a small-state outcome and no workers’ rights.
“Labour will enact the will of the people and fi ght for an outcome that serves working people — a Britain run on socialist lines with a good trading relationship with the European Union.”
Lothians MSP Neil Findlay said the attack was “desperate stuff from the SNP. Labour is now breathing down its neck across Scotland, all of its bluster cannot hide the fact that it’s failing our NHS, our education service and our economy.”