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28th-Aug-2017

UK should stay in EU single market in transition: Labour

By AFP, London

Britain should stay in the European single market and accept free movement of people during a transition period after it leaves the EU, the main opposition Labour Party said on Sunday.
In a major policy shift, Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer wrote in the Observer that continuity immediately after Brexit would "avoid a cliff edge for our economy".
"Labour would seek a transitional deal that maintains the same basic terms that we currently enjoy with the EU," Starmer wrote.
"That means we would seek to remain in a customs union with the EU and within the single market during this period. It means we would abide by the common rules of both," he said, meaning unimpeded immigration from the EU could continue.
Starmer added that curbs on immigration "must be addressed in the final deal" as it was a key issue in last year's Brexit referendum.
But he hinted that Labour could aim to retain some form of membership of the customs union even once the transition period has elapsed.
"Remaining in a form of customs union with the EU is a possible end destination for Labour, but that must be subject to negotiations.
"It also means that Labour is flexible as to whether the benefits of the single market are best retained by negotiating a new single market relationship or by working up from a bespoke trade deal," he said.