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What is Keir Starmer's 'internal market' Brexit proposal?' What is Keir Starmer's 'internal market' Brexit proposal?'
(6 months later)
Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, is proposing an “internal market” that would deliver a new and close relationship with the EU but falls short of membership of the single market while maintaining many of its advantages.Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, is proposing an “internal market” that would deliver a new and close relationship with the EU but falls short of membership of the single market while maintaining many of its advantages.
Brexit: Starmer says Labour won't back staying in EEA because party too divided - Politics live
Does this shift mean Labour backs a much softer Brexit?Does this shift mean Labour backs a much softer Brexit?
It’s another significant step in that direction – the language in Starmer’s new amendment, about “shared institutions” with the EU and “full access” to the “internal market”, is as close as the party feels it can come to single market membership without going the whole hog.It’s another significant step in that direction – the language in Starmer’s new amendment, about “shared institutions” with the EU and “full access” to the “internal market”, is as close as the party feels it can come to single market membership without going the whole hog.
So why not just say we want to remain members of the single market? Two reasons: one, key members of the shadow cabinet (and quite a few backbenchers with pro-leave constituencies) believe the referendum result revealed that voters want to see immigration control on a scale incompatible with free movement.So why not just say we want to remain members of the single market? Two reasons: one, key members of the shadow cabinet (and quite a few backbenchers with pro-leave constituencies) believe the referendum result revealed that voters want to see immigration control on a scale incompatible with free movement.
And two, Jeremy Corbyn’s team believe that full membership, which would require compliance with the EU competition regime for example, would constrain their ability to intervene radically in the economy.And two, Jeremy Corbyn’s team believe that full membership, which would require compliance with the EU competition regime for example, would constrain their ability to intervene radically in the economy.
Nevertheless, Labour can edge closer to single market membership than Theresa May because it’s more relaxed about European court of justice oversight; and is happy to agree not to undercut EU regulations – on the environment and workers’ rights, for example.Nevertheless, Labour can edge closer to single market membership than Theresa May because it’s more relaxed about European court of justice oversight; and is happy to agree not to undercut EU regulations – on the environment and workers’ rights, for example.
Why now?Why now?
Some members of the shadow cabinet, led by Starmer but also including Diane Abbott from a slightly different, pro-migration perspective, have been pushing for a softening of the party’s Brexit line for some time; but the leadership’s hand has been forced by parliamentary timing.Some members of the shadow cabinet, led by Starmer but also including Diane Abbott from a slightly different, pro-migration perspective, have been pushing for a softening of the party’s Brexit line for some time; but the leadership’s hand has been forced by parliamentary timing.
With the EU withdrawal bill coming back to the House of Commons next Tuesday, they had to decide how to vote on the Lords amendment aimed at keeping Britain in the EEA, which scores of Labour MPs were likely to back.With the EU withdrawal bill coming back to the House of Commons next Tuesday, they had to decide how to vote on the Lords amendment aimed at keeping Britain in the EEA, which scores of Labour MPs were likely to back.
Will this new amendment pass?Will this new amendment pass?
Almost certainly not – as rebel Conservative backbenchers are highly unlikely to support an amendment with Corbyn’s name on it. But as Starmer pointed out on Wednesday morning, the EEA amendment stood little chance either, because Labour MPs in Brexit-leaning constituencies were against it.Almost certainly not – as rebel Conservative backbenchers are highly unlikely to support an amendment with Corbyn’s name on it. But as Starmer pointed out on Wednesday morning, the EEA amendment stood little chance either, because Labour MPs in Brexit-leaning constituencies were against it.
So what’s Labour up to?So what’s Labour up to?
Politics. Corbyn has to try to square ardent remainers among his grassroots members – and indeed his parliamentary party – with his many MPs who have leave constituencies, and believe appearing to be working towards overturning Brexit would be electorally suicidal.Politics. Corbyn has to try to square ardent remainers among his grassroots members – and indeed his parliamentary party – with his many MPs who have leave constituencies, and believe appearing to be working towards overturning Brexit would be electorally suicidal.
A version of the same argument has been playing out within the shadow cabinet, and in Corbyn’s inner circle – and the amendment is an attempt to nod at both camps. As much as anything else, it’s about party management – another example of Corbyn’s tendency to be more pragmatic than some of his fiercest critics give him credit for.A version of the same argument has been playing out within the shadow cabinet, and in Corbyn’s inner circle – and the amendment is an attempt to nod at both camps. As much as anything else, it’s about party management – another example of Corbyn’s tendency to be more pragmatic than some of his fiercest critics give him credit for.
But it’s also worth bearing in mind that part of the row about how fast to move, and when, has involved trying to avoid the appearance of being pushed by vocal backbenchers such as Chris Leslie and Chuka Umunna, for whom there is no love lost in team Jeremy, to say the least.But it’s also worth bearing in mind that part of the row about how fast to move, and when, has involved trying to avoid the appearance of being pushed by vocal backbenchers such as Chris Leslie and Chuka Umunna, for whom there is no love lost in team Jeremy, to say the least.
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So will this make any difference to May’s position?So will this make any difference to May’s position?
At the margins, perhaps: with cabinet deadlocked over future customs arrangements and Whitehall seeking compromises, it matters what possible Brexit models could win the backing of parliament in the autumn.At the margins, perhaps: with cabinet deadlocked over future customs arrangements and Whitehall seeking compromises, it matters what possible Brexit models could win the backing of parliament in the autumn.
And what about the other amendments coming to parliament next week?And what about the other amendments coming to parliament next week?
The stickiest pair for the government are on strengthening the meaningful vote MPs will get after the Brexit negotiations are concluded in the autumn; and the customs union.The stickiest pair for the government are on strengthening the meaningful vote MPs will get after the Brexit negotiations are concluded in the autumn; and the customs union.
However, the lords’ customs amendment doesn’t firmly commit the government to seeking to remain inside a customs union, so some at Westminster believe that while defeat would be humiliating, it would not force May and her ministers to change course immediately.However, the lords’ customs amendment doesn’t firmly commit the government to seeking to remain inside a customs union, so some at Westminster believe that while defeat would be humiliating, it would not force May and her ministers to change course immediately.
BrexitBrexit
European UnionEuropean Union
Keir StarmerKeir Starmer
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