Letter offers Labour’s support if PM makes five binding commitments – including joining a customs union
Jeremy Corbyn has written to the prime minister, offering to throw Labour’s support behind her Brexit deal if she makes five legally binding commitments – including joining a customs union.
The Labour leader held private talks with Theresa May last week for the first time since her deal was rejected by a historic margin of 230 votes in January.
In a follow-up letter sent on Wednesday, he laid out in the clearest terms yet what commitments he is seeking in exchange for offering Labour support.
His intervention will dismay backbench Labour MPs and grassroots activists still hoping he will switch the party’s policy towards demanding a second Brexit referendum – which is not mentioned in the letter.
And it comes as No 10 prepares to publish legislation underpinning workers’ rights, perhaps as early as next week, in an attempt to win support from Labour backbenchers.
In his letter, Corbyn calls for the government to rework the political declaration setting the framework for Britain’s future relationship with the EU – and then enshrine these new negotiating objectives in UK law, so that a future Tory leader could not sweep them away after Brexit.
He says the changes to the political declaration must include:
- A “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”, including a say in future trade deals.
- Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by “shared institutions”.
- “Dynamic alignment on rights and protections”, so that UK standards do not fall behind those of the EU.
- Clear commitments on future UK participation in EU agencies and funding programmes.
- Unambiguous agreements on future security arrangements, such as use of the European arrest warrant.