Jeremy Corbyn empty-chaired at single market summit

This morning a summit took place in Parliament to discuss ways of working together to make sure that the UK stays in the single market on which so many jobs depend.

Our Vince was there

But there was an empty chair:

Which was a real shame because most of the rest of the opposition parties showed up too.

And so a little video did the rounds reminding us all of Jezza’s long standing opposition to the European project.

And what was he doing while the others were trying to work together on this? Well, backing up Theresa and the Brexiteers by saying we couldn’t be in the single market.

The Labour leader told colleagues that it was not possible to stay in the single market, as he set out his Brexit policy to the parliamentary party on Monday night.

Some within Labour have been increasing calls for Corbyn to listen to the party’s pro-EU membership and commit to staying in the trading bloc.

But Corbyn stressed that this was not an option, as he addressed the reasons why he would not attend a single market summit convened by the Scottish National party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

Vince welcomed the summit:

This is a good, positive step to parliamentary co-ordination between opposition parties against the Conservative Brexit. There are four parties here who are putting their political differences to one side for the good of the country.

I would urge the Labour leadership to do the same and get involved – their membership and most of their MPs would like them to fight to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union.

Why does this matter? Well, lots of young people voted for Labour thinking that they were opposed to Brexit. Opportunities like today show that the opposite is true. They are supporting the Tory rush to the most irresponsible and disastrous Brexit. We need to make sure that all our Labour voting pro Remain friends know this.


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  • I can see what it’s trying to do, but it reminds me of Danny Alexander and his yellow briefcase. A stunt that hardly gets noticed, and mocked when it does. No secret where LDs, Plaid, SNP and Greens stand on Brexit, but how to influence Labour (and some Tories?) my only idea is to go after donors – if the money men threaten withdrawing funding unless Labour soften their line we might see movement. But Labour have been smart at sitting on the fence and diverting attention to topics they want to talk about – it’ll take something cannier than this to change that.

  • This summit was of course an SNP initiative. I agree it had ‘stunt’ written all over it, but given we’d been invited I think Vince was right to attend. The Labour party’s complicity in enabling the Tory Brexit is an absolute disgrace and we do need to keep saying that at every opportunity.

  • John Marriott 10th Jan '18 - 7:07am

    OK, you could argue that it was a bit of a gimmick and, yes, the leitmotif was probably anti Brexit BUT that’s how Labour behaves. Didn’t you know, the party always has all the answers – or at least that’s what they would like you to believe!

    In thirty years of serving in local government, of which all but the last four years were spent in opposition (usually with Labour) I can honestly say that, whether at District or County level the Labour lot were always the hardest to deal with. Why even the UKIP councillors I encountered between 2013 and 20017 contained in their midst people you could actually have a decent conversation with without the political straitjacket being applied!

    The plain fact is that, good as many of its intentions may be, Labour has little interest in real structural reform at any level and in any discipline. Look what Blair did with the 2004 Tomlinson Report, which could have kickstarted a vocational revolution in our state schools or the 2007 Lyons Report on Local Government, both of which were kicked into the long grass.

    It suits Corbyn to sit on the fence as far as Brexit is concerned. Chaos might just create the circumstances in which the siege economy that favours radical ‘socialist’ change might occur. You could argue that it was a ‘backs to the wall’ scenario which allowed Bolshevism to grab power in Russia a hundred years ago.

    ‘Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’, as someone once said.

  • Staying in the single market is a non-starter. Whilst Lib Dems may nick some Remain voters from Labour (which I think is Sir Vince’s real intention and ambition for this posturing), the departure from both the SM and customs union is a done deal it would seem. Better now to campaign for a Return vote and, in the interim, trying to ensure that the UK adheres/aligns to EU practices even if/when we become free to do otherwise.

  • We will get the Brexit the Tories can deliver. that this seems to suit the Labour party is becoming more and more obvious. I suspect they think it will be so messy it will herald their return to power; the problem they have is the mess may be beyond their talents to fix without a lot of pain and then the Tories are back. From bad to worse and back to worse again.

  • Reginald Langman 10th Jan '18 - 9:53am

    You are right to complain about the absence of Corbyn or a representative. However the time is surely coming to engage in organising a cross party meeting of all MPs known to be against Brexit

  • Eddie Sammon 10th Jan '18 - 10:15am

    This is a good stunt. Every time Jeremy says something positive about the EU a bunch of Labour supporting journalists say ‘Look, he’s pro EU!’, but then he always goes back to his usual self and making statements saying we must leave the single market.

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