Labour MPs prepare for Brexit showdown at party conference

Helen Cahill
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Labour delegates have descended on Brighton (Source: Getty)

Labour MPs will be bartering over the party's EU policy this week as key Remain campaigners hope to steer the party towards a soft Brexit.

Labour's policy on the UK's future relationship with the EU remains open to discussion, and key figures made their position clear this morning with an open letter demanding the UK remain in the Single Market and customs union.

Read more: A group of Labour MPs are pushing for Single Market access post-Brexit

At a conference event today, a lead signatory Chuka Umuna admitted he had been a "pain in the arse" for his colleague, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer.

Starmer has not slapped down his colleagues' suggestion yet, and the conference will be a key opportunity for MPs supporting a soft Brexit to gain ground.

Has business turned out?

Despite the anti-business tone of much of Corbyn's election manifesto, business lobby groups are keen to make an impression at this year's conference.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who will address the conference delegates tomorrow, will take part in a fringe event with top business group the Confederation of British Industry on Monday evening, talking about how UK business can deliver growth for the economy.

Read more: Forget millennials: Older people neglected by financial services, says FCA

Meanwhile, TheCityUK has teamed up with the Fabian Society to look at the future of the financial services industry. And Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors, will travel to Brighton on the Tuesday to host a private dinner for MPs and journalists.

Aiming for another General Election

After significantly increasing Labour's vote share in the snap General Election this summer, MPs are confident about another vote and are far more united behind their leader.

Today, Starmer said he hoped there would be another General Election so that the public could decide which party had the right plan for the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Theresa May has now committed to a transitional period after 2019, leaving the door open to Starmer's suggestion of a new government for that stage.

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