Tom Watson: UK could stay in single market and customs union ‘permanently’


Britain could permanently remain part of the single market and customs union after leaving the EU, according to Tom Watson.

The Labour deputy leader admitted his party was advocating a soft Brexit.

His comments came after shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer argued the UK should transitionally remain in the trade organisations for up to four years after exiting the bloc in 2019.

Mr Watson suggested that staying in the single market and customs union “might be” a permanent outcome of Brexit negotiations.

Asked whether Labour was the party of soft Brexit, Mr Watson told BBC Newsnight: “Yes, you have seen Keir Starmer’s statement, we think that being part of the customs union and the single market is important in those transitional times because that is the way you protect jobs and the economy.

“And it might be a permanent outcome of the negotiations, but we have got to see how those negotiations go.”

Last month, Sir Keir indicated Labour would perform a dramatic shift in policy by committing itself to continued UK members of the trade organisations.

He said Labour would stick with the “same basic terms” of Britain’s current EU membership during the transition.

In an article for The Observer, Sir Keir stated that the party is open to negotiating new single market and customs union term which the UK to agree to on a permanent basis.

Labour promised prior to June’s general election to seek to “retain the benefits” of the single market and customs union as part of a “jobs-first” Brexit, but leader Jeremy Corbyn has not said he would support continued membership beyond the date of Brexit.


World News


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