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‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!’ Labour Remainer’s single market reform call


LABOUR rebel Seema Malhotra has railed against the UK leaving the single market and the customs union and instead called for reform.

The MP, who resigned from her party’s frontbench over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, urged the Government not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” over leaving the trade blocs.

The calls come despite the Labour leader previously ruling out wanting to stay in the EU’s internal market on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

He said: “The single market is dependent on membership of the EU. What we’ve said all along is that we want a tariff free trade access to the European market and a partnership with Europe in the future.”

But speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, Ms Malhotra made the case for reform.

She said: “I think what has been clear is that the Labour party has had a position of wanting to make sure we put jobs and the economy first, stay in the single market as closely as possible, stay within the customs union.

“What I’ve personally said since the day after the referendum effectively is that as far as we can we should be looking to reform some of those areas of the single market, like the way freedom of movement worked, to argue for greater controls for nation states should they wish it.

“I do think it’s very important we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater on this, to throw out what is good and working for our economy and working for Europe as a whole.”

The comments come after staunch Remainer Labour MP Chuka Umunna refused to rule out calls for a second EU referendum, saying it should be an option if Brexit talks do not favour the UK.

He said: “As the facts emerge, I think what we are beginning to see here is that it is impossible to deliver the things that people thought they would get.

“The £350 million extra for public services, not being poorer as we go forward, ensuring that we get the same economic and trade benefits as we have now.”

Asked if he thought there should be a second referendum, he added: “I’m not opposed in principle to that.

“But I think what the British people expect us to do, is to do our very best to deliver Brexit in the terms they thought that they could have.

“If we’ve exhausted all the avenues through this negotiation then I think it’s an open question on that.”