KEIR STARMER revealed Labour is prepared to compromise Britain’s ability to strike new trade deals in order to remain in the customs union after Brexit.
The Shadow Brexit Secretary told Radio 5’s Pienaar Politics the customs union was an option that should remain on the negotiating table as the UK could be better off with the deals struck by the European Union.
Mr Starmer said: “There is a lot of anxiety in the business community about stepping outside the customs union because it creates so many difficulties.
“That is why we have said it’s an option that should be left on the table.
“The question whether in the end, you stay in the customs union is one that we need to address when we get to the end of negotiating process because it will depend on what level of access we’ve got to the single market.
“Is it better to have freedom to strike new deals across the world or are we better off staying with deals that are struck by the EU? That is something which at the moment we can’t answer.
“So that’s why we’ve said look at the outcome, leave options on the table, that is a perfectly sensible negotiating strategy.”
The Labour Party politician added a future deal with Brussels mattered more than any other deal the UK could strike after Brexit.
Mr Starmer said: “The deal with the EU matters more than any other deal, everybody knows it’s 44 per cent of our trade. That’s the one that really matters.”
Meanwhile, Mr Starmer faced a tough time on the Andrew Marr show as the BBC host turned the tables on the Shadow Brexit Secretary.
Marr said: “What people say to me is actually when you look at it, Labour’s position on Brexit is identical to Theresa May’s position.
“So, let me test that if I may with some yes or no questions. First of all, do you accept that we are leaving the EU, come what may?”
And as the Labour politician confirmed remaining in the EU and re-running the Brexit referendum would be out of the question, the BBC host asked about Labour’s position regarding the single market.
Marr said: “Third question, are there any circumstances in which you think Britain should stay inside the single market?”
Sir Keir said: “As far as the single market is concerned, our manifesto is clear, we want to retain the benefits of the single market and the customs union.
“Formal, full membership is only available to EU member states and that’s why all the discussion about what sort of model…”
Cutting Mr Starmer off, Marr said: “So that sounds to me like a no, we cannot stay in the single market.”
And after having quizzed the Labour politician on whether he was prepared to make compromises on freedom of moment for access to the single market, Marr said: “You sound like, in a very gentle way, [you’re saying] exactly what Theresa May would say if she was sitting there.”