- Shadow Brexit secretary tells Andrew Marr position would ensure UK kept full benefits of single market and customs union
Keir Starmer has said Labour is prepared to accept the “easy movement” of workers between the EU and Britain in order to secure the benefits of both the single market and customs union after Brexit.
The shadow Brexit secretary said his party’s ambitions for a close economic relationship with the EU also meant alignment of regulations and standards, and continued payments.
“We are very comfortable staying on a level playing field,” he said.
Starmer also said Theresa May was being unrealistic in her promises that secured an agreement on the divorce talks.
“You can’t sweep customs union and single market off the table on the one hand and also say you don’t want a hard border in Northern Ireland,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
Setting out Labour’s position, he said: “Do we want full participation of the single market? Yes we do. Do we want the full benefits of the customs union? Yes we do.”
Starmer said Labour would try to achieve its aims by starting with viable options for staying in a customs union and “a single market variant”.
Asked by Marr if that mean “easy movement” of workers, Starmer said: “Yes, of course”.
“What are the benefits of the single market and the customs union? They are no tariffs and they are alignment of regulations and standards,” he said. “And that means for goods and services we can trade successfully in future and to some extent the model doesn’t matter.”
His comments came as David Davis suggested a final trade deal would look something like “Canada plus plus plus”. He said the UK would try to take the best of agreements with countries such as Japan and South Korea and then add in services that are key in Britain.
He said the words “full alignment” had replaced a request for “no divergence”, insuring that was significant.
“Divergence would mean cut and paste rules,” he said, arguing that full alignment would be limited to areas such as agriculture, road and rail, and would be unlikely to affect sectors including education or health.
He said the UK would always want to protect issues such as animal welfare and food safety, but could meet the outcomes in a different way to the EU if it chose.
Source The Guardian
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