A number of people have contacted me recently about Labour’s position on Brexit, and in particular on freedom of movement and membership of the single market.
I believe we should stay in the European Union. We had a referendum last year that, by a very slim majority, rejected that position. My view has not changed, but there is now a mandate for us to leave the EU. Therefore, if we have to leave, we should do so on the basis of protecting jobs and our economy, as the Labour Party has said.
I think the best way to do that is to stay in the single market, avoiding a hard Brexit that would destroy workers’, consumer and environmental rights, and allowing us time to fully evaluate the options available to us.
A soft Brexit would require compromise and an acceptance that we will not get everything we want in the short term. However, there is no sign that the Government understands this. Theresa May seems to think that the EU will rewrite all of its rules just because the UK says so. This is a fantasy.
We need to be clear that a hard Brexit will be ruinous for this country, but the Government has rejected the idea of a softer exit from the EU. We are now, therefore, facing a choice between ruin and rethink.
I believe it is time for a rethink.