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Britain could still be part of customs union post-Brexit: Sir Keir Starmer

The shadow Brexit secretary said another referendum is “not viable”.

Britain could stay in the customs union after Brexit as Labour would “leave options on the table”, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The shadow Brexit secretary said the party is clear that Britain will leave the EU as another referendum is “not viable”, but he hinted Labour would fight to keep membership of the customs union after the divorce proceedings.

Labour has struggled to nail down its position on whether Britain can stay within the single market, which could form a key part of the Brexit negotiations due to start on Monday.

During an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Keir said Theresa May had “alienated our allies in Europe” with her Brexit approach, and he said Britain could not stay in the single market in “an unreformed, unchanged way” – but sidestepped questions on the details, saying it is more important to focus on the outcome.

He said: “You can only be a full member of the single market if you are an EU member and therefore it is obvious that we are looking for something else.

“The question is do we leave options on the table, and I’ve said repeatedly – yes, let’s leave options on the table.”

Sir Keir acknowledged freedom of movement for people would end after Brexit but said membership of the customs unions should “stay on the table”.

Asked whether Britain could stay inside the customs union, he said: “Yes. I think the Prime Minister has got us into a complete mess. She’s got no mandate here and she’s got no authority abroad and the negotiation starts tomorrow.

“Things have to change. Her approach so far has alienated our allies in Europe, it’s weakened our position with the EU and it’s actually got us into the worst possible starting position.”

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