EDINBURGH, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s main opposition Labour Party is announcing a policy shift which opens the possibility of the country remaining in the European Union’s single market and customs union for several years as part of a “soft” brexit, a spokesman said on Saturday.
The party would propose the same “basic terms” as Britain’s current relationship with the EU during a transition period following Brexit in 2019, and after that for all options to be open, a spokesman for Labour said.
His comments came in response to a report in Britain’s Guardian and sister newspaper Observer in which shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer backed “continued membership of the EU single market beyond March 2019, when Britain leaves the EU,” so that Labour would become the party of a “soft Brexit” and offer a smoother economic outcome.
Jeremy Corbyn’s party would also “leave open the option of the UK remaining a member of the customs union and single market for good, beyond the end of the transitional period”, the paper said.
However, a longer-term arrangement would only be considered if a Labour government could by that point have persuaded the rest of the EU to “agree to a special deal on immigration and changes to freedom of movement rules,” the paper said. (Reporting by Elisabeth O‘Leary; editing by Ralph Boulton)