Jeremy Corbyn sent a letter to the Prime Minister this morning, in which he outlined the five things his party would need to see, if they were to support her Brexit deal in Parliament. The move is a marked change to his previous position. It wasn’t that long ago when Jeremy Corbyn was refusing to even talk to the Prime Minister about Brexit.
Ever since the Brady amendment was passed in Parliament, Corbyn’s tune has changed and now he seems willing to set out some options that could potentially get his party on board. A combination of a looming No Deal, and pressure from his party for him to call a second referendum, are no doubt the reasons why he reached out today.
The letter, however, doesn’t seem like something the Prime Minister could really get on board with. In his five demands, Corbyn suggests a Brexit that looks nothing like what Mrs. May promised when she became Prime Minister. It read:
The changes we would need to see include:
1. A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union. This would include alignment with the union customs code, a common external tariff and an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals. We believe that a customs union is necessary to deliver the frictionless trade that our businesses, workers and consumers need, and is the only viable way to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland. As you are aware, a customs union is supported by most businesses and trade unions.
2. Close alignment with the Single Market. This should be underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution.
3. Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum, allowing the UK to lead the way.
4. Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation.
5. Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases.
Mrs. May has repeatedly promised that Brexit would mean leaving the single market and customs union, meaning it’s likely that Corbyn’s suggestion is dead in the water. However, according to Downing Street sources, the proposal was in fact seriously considered today. Considerable points of differences were noted, however, and it seems that the Prime Minister’s focus is staying on her discussions with EU leaders.