Last week, after MPs passed a motion rejecting a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn agreed to meet Theresa May. She had previously met leaders of other parties and – according to them – read to them from a script.
Tonight, Corbyn has written to May listing Labour’s five ‘commonsense demands’ for a Brexit that will protect the people of this country while respecting the referendum result:
For those using readers, the five demands – not counting his requirement that she change her ‘red lines’ to create the possibility for a sensible and meaningful negotiation with the EU – outlined by Corbyn in his letter are:
- A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union. This would include alignment with the union customs code, a common external tariff and an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals. We believe that a customs union is necessary to deliver the frictionless trade that our businesses, workers and consumers need, and is the only viable way to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland. As you are aware, a customs union is supported by most businesses and trade unions.
- Close alignment with the Single Market. This should be underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution.
- Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum, allowing the UK to lead the way.
- Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment. education, and industrial regulation.
- Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases.
Labour’s plan is clear and eminently achievable – and entirely in line with Labour’s Brexit policy in place since before the 2017 general election.
This, of course, does not mean either that May will surrender to its overwhelming common sense or that the media will stop parroting nonsensical claims that Labour has no Brexit policy.
But the reality is there in black and white – or at least black and parchment.
Never has it been more clear that Jeremy Corbyn is the only party leader working for all the people, not just the half who voted leave or the half who voted remain.
Similarly, it is perfectly clear that a Labour government is the UK’s best, perhaps only, way out of the current Tory-created mess – and that centrists pushing a divisive new referendum are not only at odds with the country’s best interests but not offering anything resembling an actual solution.
It’s also a masterful political move, painting May into a corner and putting firmly on the record that it will be her responsibility if she fails to turn against her hard-Brexit fringe for the sake of the country and plunges the UK into a no-deal exit.
The apoplectic Twitter implosion of Chuka Umunna this evening is, of course, entirely coincidental.
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