Welsh first secretary Carwyn Jones backed by Chuka Umunna and Ben Bradshaw as Labour MPs rebel over Corbyn's single market edict

Catherine Neilan
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Carwyn Jones: Welsh first minister at odds with Corbyn over single market (Source: Getty)

What does Labour stand for when it comes to Brexit and, specifically, the single market? It seems no one knows, even the party's own MPs.

Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones has today seemingly contradicted leader Jeremy Corbyn by stressing the need to remain in the single market after leaving the European Union.

He told Radio 4's Today Programme this morning that if we left Welsh farmers would "lose access to one of the world’s biggest markets, a market that’s on our doorstep".

Jones added: "If we were not in the single market we’d be having a debate about having to access it, not how to leave it."

He noted that Norway had "almost full access to the single market", adding: “We don’t have to leave the EU and leave one of the world’s biggest markets at the same time – that’s an interpretation that’s been put on the referendum result by the current UK government and that makes no sense at all.”

However when it was pointed out to him that Labour's position was also to leave the single market, he became less punchy, saying there was "no crystal ball" for how Brexit would be delivered.

Jones' argument was picked up by former culture minister Ben Bradshaw, who tweeted about the "importance" of staying in the single market.

Chuka Umunna also tweeted his praise for Jones' stance.

He later tweeted: "Taking Single Market and Customs Union membership off the table in the Brexit talks is the Tory position, it should not be Labour's."

All this is in direct opposition to what the party leader has said.

Yesterday Corbyn told the Andrew Marr Show: "The single market is dependent on membership of the EU. What we have said all along is that we want a tariff-free trade access to the European market and a partnership with Europe in the future.

He added: “The two things are inextricably linked so the question then is the kind of trade relationship of the future and we have made it very clear we want a tariff-free trade access with the European market.”

Corbyn said that Labour had yet to “make a judgement” on whether or not to stay in the customs union, saying, “We haven’t jumped on either side of that fence, but again the customs union is part of the European Union.”

This prompted a widespread response from people fact-checking his claims, including Umunna who tweeted a list of non-EU countries who are in the single market.

Labour MP Wes Streeting did likewise.

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