The Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, Stephen Doughty, has joined 40 other rebel Labour MPs to sign an “open letter” demanding that the Labour Party should back “full membership” of the Single Market and full membership of the Customs Union.
More than 40 so-called “senior figures” in the Labour Party have appended their signatures to the letter – including Madeline Moon (Labour Bridgend) , Chris Bryant (Labour Rhondda), the former Welsh Secretary and now life-peer Lord Hain and Stephen Doughty .
The ‘Rebel 40’ are demanding that the Labour Party should have “the courage of its convictions on Brexit” and should state it intends to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union . Most voters in Wales however are in favour of getting out of the EU.
The Anti-Corbyn Rebels claim that “the economic impact of leaving the Single Market would hit the most vulnerable in our society hardest. Vital employment and environmental protections would be placed at the whim of this or any future Tory government. And being outside the Customs Union would mean masses of new red tape, a desperate scramble for trade agreements and the re-emergence of a border in Ireland.”.
The 40 Rebels – including Doughty – are demanding that Labour should “commit to staying in the Single Market and Customs Union” and should not “rule out any options for doing so” – a phrase which appears to suggest a preparedness to consider no restraint on immigration via the EU.
The Rebels say Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party leadership need to go further than just arguing for a “transitional period” – and claim “it is simply unsustainable to say we are an anti-austerity party but that we would jeopardise ties with our biggest trading partner.”
Labour’s would-be Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn and his Marxist colleague (and now proclaimed future Chancellor) John McDonnell – have so far said only that they want to ensure what they call “tariff-free access to the European market” . Both are wary of the Single Market. Corbyn says – “it has within it restrictions on state aid and state spending” and also a penchant for Labour’s bete-noire “privatisation”.
The Labour Party hierachy has been at pains to avoid having a debate on Brexit at the party’s annual conference in Brighton today. John McDonnell has denied the party is “stifling debate about Brexit”.
However an email from Labour’s ultra-left-wing “Momentum” group , is said by Sky News to have urged party members NOT to call for a debate on Brexit . McDonnell later denied the message was part of a “cynical ploy”