Labour MP Barry Gardiner's Brexit position gets thumbs up from Ukip spokesman Patrick O'Flynn

Catherine Neilan
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Not so much from Labour's Europhile ranks though (Source: Getty)

Shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner has doubled-down on comments made yesterday, cementing Labour's position as pro-hard Brexit.

The MP for Brent North has dismissed remaining in the EEA or the customs union as "inappropriate", instead saying a deal must "develop a bespoke agreement based on what both sides need".

Writing in today's Guardian, Gardiner claimed the political price for remaining in the EEA was high "and runs directly counter to the leavers’ four objectives" - namely to have control of the UK's borders, to regain sovereignty to be exempt from ECJ rulings and to no longer pay into the EU budget.

Read more: Labour's Brexit policy gaffes are wearing thin

Echoing his words from yesterday, the MP wrote: "The UK would technically not be a member of the EU, but we would in effect become a vassal state: obliged to pay into the union’s budget while having even less sovereignty than we do now – no longer able to appoint commissioners, sit on the EU council to have a say in how we determine our regulations and laws, or appoint British judges to the ECJ to adjudicate disputes. The 52 per cent would almost certainly consider this a con."

Remaining in the customs union is "not possible", he adds.

"The only members of this union are the member states of the EU, and they alone have negotiating power... As a transitional phase, a customs union agreement might be thought to have some merit. However, as an end point it is deeply unattractive. It would preclude us from making our own independent trade agreements with our five largest export markets outside the EU (the US, China, Japan, Australia and the Gulf states)."

Read more: Gloves are off as Labour scraps over Single Market position

His words might not chime with the majority of Labour's youth vote, but he has won support from at least one side of the debate - Ukip MEP and spokesman Patrick O'Flynn.

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