LABOUR called for a Brexit that would make jobs a priority yesterday and reiterated the party’s aim for Britain to leave the EU’s single market with a deal that would provide the “exact same benefits.”
A Queen’s Speech amendment tabled by former shadow cabinet minister Chuka Umunna calling on the government to outline how it would keep Britain in the single market and customs union was rejected by 221 votes.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had been facing a potential rebellion from 43 of his MPs who were expected to back the amendment.
Mr Umunna said it has been estimated that leaving the single market could cost Britain £31 billion.
“Large, multinational companies work across borders to maximise their profits and reduce these protections. One national government cannot take on the power of these people alone,” he said.
Mr Corbyn has ordered his MPs to abstain from voting on the amendment.
He has also tabled Labour’s own amendment stating that the party is committed to leaving the single market, but aims to retain the same benefits of the trade bloc.
Most Labour MPs represent Leave-voting constituencies where a bid to stay in the single market would be seen as a betrayal of the people’s decision to leave the EU.
The Communist Party reaffirmed its opposition to any EU exit deal which maintains single market and customs union rules that would tie the hands of a future progressive government in Britain.
General secretary Robert Griffiths said: “A left-led Labour government must be free alongside progressive administrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff to enact trade, investment, public ownership and procurement policies that put the public interest before private profit.”
Labour’s amendment to lift the 1 per cent public-sector pay cap was earlier defeated by 26 votes.