Sunday, 25 February 2018 14:10

DITCH SUPPORT FOR EXTREME BREXIT

BACKING FOR CUSTOMS UNION ALONE NOT ENOUGH
 
The SNP’s Westminster leader has once again urged Jeremy Corbyn to re-think his position on Brexit, and to work with opposition parties to protect the UK’s membership of the Single Market and Customs Union.
 
Ian Blackford MP warned that 20 months since the EU referendum, time was fast running out for opposition parties to halt the Tories’ extreme Brexit plans – outside the Single Market and Customs Union. Mr Blackford has welcomed reports that Jeremy Corbyn may shift his party's position and finally support membership of the Customs' Union – but says he needs to go further and support the UK's membership of the Single Market when the UK leaves the EU. 
 
In Westminster, the SNP has brought together opposition leaders from the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, in order to bring to a halt the Tory government’s Brexit plans which will hit the UK's economy, jobs market, investment, businesses and living standards.
 
The Labour leader has thus far refused numerous invitations to meet and work with the group.
 
Earlier this year, the UK government’s own economic analysis revealed that under the three likely outcomes of the Brexit negotiations, remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union is the least damaging option. 
 
The Scottish Government’s analysis published earlier revealed similar figures, showing that under each of the three outcomes Scotland’s GDP could face a hit of around 2.7%, 6.1% and 8.5% respectively –  a cost of £688 (EEA), £1,610 (FTA) and £2,263 (No-deal) per person. The total cost of an extreme Brexit to Scotland’s economy could be £12.7 billion a year.
 
Ian Blackford MP commented:
 
“Labour’s position on Brexit so far has been utterly shameful – with their failure to support continued membership of the single market and customs union they have been aiding and abetting the extreme Brexit proposed by the right-wing Tories now in charge of UK Government policy.

“That is something that threatens to do huge harm to working families and communities all across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“If Labour are now buckling under pressure and prepared to commit to the customs union, that is welcome – but it doesn’t go far enough.  

“Jeremy Corbyn must change his party's position and support membership of both the Customs Union and Single Market, to best protect the economy and jobs.  

 
“Fully 20 months on from the EU referendum and we find ourselves in the extraordinary situation whereby Theresa May is held to ransom by her own party’s hard Brexiteers, and Jeremy Corbyn is cheer-leading that very same Tory hard Brexit.
 
“If the UK is to leave the EU, the SNP has consistently called for the least damaging and sensible scenario where Scotland and the UK remain part of the Single Market and Customs Union. The evidence against being dragged out is mounting and it’s about time Jeremy Corbyn addressed the facts and backed the position of the SNP, and other opposition parties, of remaining a member of both.
 
“Time is fast running out – not just for the UK from the dangers of a hard Brexit – but also for Jeremy Corbyn over his lack of clarity and inaction as the UK’s economy, labour market and the livelihoods of millions of people across the UK are put at risk.
 
“Unless Labour gets it act together, they are simply rubber-stamping Tory government plans, rather than acting as the official opposition."
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