Tory and Labour MPs mount presssure for Norway-style Brexit

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 9, 2018

Theresa May endured a torrid Prime Minister's Question session in which she was mocked by Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit and faced angry questions from Tory MPs about the chaos on the railways and Heathrow's expansion.

Labour's frontbench has announced a new amendment to the EU withdrawal bill, which returns to the Commons next week, proposing "full access to the internal market of the European Union".

At an Open Britain event, she said that Tories at all levels of government - including in the Cabinet - supported an EEA deal.

But shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said EEA membership was too divisive in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

Asked if he was putting party unity before his beliefs about what is right for the country, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I'm injecting some honesty about where we are in the Labour Party".

It is understood Labour MPs will abstain on the Lords EEA amendment but will be asked to back the party's call for a "bespoke" deal which would see shared UK-EU institutions and regulations.

He said: "The option of us continuing to participate in the single market is only dead insofar as the Labour frontbench seek to adopt that position and I sincerely hope that we will do right by our values and seek to keep us in the EEA".

Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle added: "Many of us will be supporting the EEA amendment from Lords".

"Every single MP needs to make their own decision about this in the national interest and in the interest of their own constituents", he said. She also faces a parliament where some lawmakers want to force her to go back on promises to leave the bloc's single market and customs union.

Keeping Britain inside the customs union and the single market, to maintain the closest possible ties with the EU.

Former minister Stephen Hammond is thought to be one of at least 12 MPs behind it. But she did not say when.

Who supports it? Only a relatively small number of committed eurosceptics in Parliament regard this as their preferred result, but many MPs - particularly on the Tory benches - believe the Government should be preparing for the possibility of a "no deal" exit in order to strengthen the UK's hand in negotiations with Brussels.

"That has got to change, we can not allow this culture of fear that has developed to continue any longer".

"We have a Cabinet that is completely and totally divided so there is no plan for what the negotiating position is going to be", she said.

Chuka Umunna - a supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign - said: "All the way through the passage of this Bill, the only amendments which have commanded support on both sides of the House and passed are cross-party backbench ones".

"You may think that is a pretty shabby and shocking state of affairs".

Both main parties' Brexit positions have been thrown into chaos days before a crucial set of Commons votes and with just two weeks until the United Kingdom is due to present a plan covering trade and the Irish border at a summit of European Union leaders.

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