Monday, 26 February 2018 14:35


The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is to meet with opposition leaders in Westminster to discuss steps on how to protect the UK’s vital membership of the single market and customs union.

Frances O’Grady has accepted an invitation to join a cross-party summit with Westminster leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.  
Ahead of the meeting on Tuesday 6th March 2018, the opposition leaders once again extended an invitation to Jeremy Corbyn to work with the group to ensure the Tory government's plans for a hard Brexit are brought to a halt.
At the TUC’s annual congress in September last year, Frances O’Grady stated that the best deal for working people in the face of Brexit is “staying in the single market and customs union.”
The UK government’s leaked 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. 
SNP Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford MP, said: 
“I am delighted that the TUC’s General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, has agreed to meet with our cross-party summit, to discuss how best we protect the UK from the catastrophic consequences a Tory extreme Brexit. 

"While reports that Jeremy Corbyn's is to change his position on remaining in the customs union is welcome, it does not go far enough. The Labour Leader 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."
Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable MP, said:

"The Labour leader’s speech looks like it will be a modest first step on the road to sanity and could undo some of the damage Jeremy Corbyn caused when he rushed into an endorsement of Article 50, making it easier for the Conservatives to pursue their hard Brexit plans. We need the Labour leadership to go further, though, and back the cross-party opposition to the Conservatives’ unnecessary and damaging plan to leave the single market.

“Frances O’Grady has been a fine leader on Brexit and I look forward to hearing from her at our next meeting.” 

Plaid Cymru’s leader in Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts MP, said:

"Having the TUC as part of our growing cross-party Brexit summit is an important step forward in our fight against the Tories' hard Brexit, and I look forward to working alongside Frances O'Grady to make sure everything possible is being done to protect workers' rights and wages.

"Both the Tories and the Labour Party are beginning to realise the severity of the damage that leaving the Customs Union and Single Market will cause to our citizens and our businesses, but both need to realise that delaying the pain by two years through a transitional deal is not enough. We need to commit to maintaining our place within both the single market and the customs union permanently, to protect jobs, wages and standard of living in our respective countries."

Green Party Co-Leader, Caroline Lucas MP, said:
“Sitting on the fence and squabbling about grammatical articles is not how to secure a positive, functioning, future relationship with Europe.  Membership of the customs union could be the difference between peace in Northern Ireland and a return to conflict and division. This is not the time for political game playing and the country’s best interests have to come first.
“And we need to go further too and ensure the UK remains at the very least part of the single market. That’s how to best protect workers’ rights and the environment. The Green Party is not afraid to stand up for those benefits and calls on Labour to have the courage to do the same.”

The meeting between the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party with the General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O'Grady, will take place on Tuesday 6th March 2018 at 10am.
For press enquiries about the meeting, please contact: Ahmed Asif - 0758 405 1566.
Brexit: workers' rights best secured by staying in single market, says TUC chief:

Read 804 times Last modified on Thursday, 01 March 2018 14:47

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