Rebel Tories want to stay in Single Market

MPs to push Theresa May into staying in single market – if Labour backs it

Conservatives have told The Independent there would be enough of their party’s MPs to lock in full single market access afterBrexit, as long as Labour also backs it. But in a move set to enrage Labour politicians, Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench will on Tuesday refuse support for just such a proposal in the Lords – preventing it from being voted on in the Commons.

Mr Corbyn is now being warned he risks a major internal row and must explain to pro-EU party members why he is “throwing away a clear opportunity” to defeat Ms May’s plans to abandon the single marketIt follows reports that Tory chief whip Julian Smith has already told the prime minister she lacks numbers in the Commons to defeat rebel amendments aimed at keeping the UK in an EU customs union.

Tory rebels, who joined forces with Labour to shift the government towards closer customs relations with Europe, will now push Ms May towards remaining inside the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – which would deliver full single market access. They say up to 15 Conservative backbenchers are now certain it is the best way to ensure the UK’s economic strength, while also staying true to the 2016 referendum result.

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