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Labour may back paying for single market access after Brexit – shadow minister

Jenny Chapman said it may be in the UK’s best interests to have an arrangement that “involves some sort of payment” for access.

Labour could be prepared to make ongoing payments to Brussels to secure access to the single market, shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman has suggested.

Ms Chapman said it may be in the UK’s best interests to have an arrangement that “involves some sort of payment” for access after leaving the European Union.

The party has committed to staying in the single market and customs union during a transition period and has kept its options open about the permanent relationship it wants with Brussels.

Ms Chapman said she did not want a Norway-style settlement which involved ongoing contributions to the EU’s budget.

But pressed on whether it would be worth carrying on paying indefinitely for full access to the single market, she told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “We would leave the single market … on the table, and it may be that there’s an arrangement that’s in the UK’s best interests that involves some sort of payment for access.

“That is something that we would leave on the table, unlike the Government that’s decided ‘we don’t want to be part of the customs union, we don’t want to be part of the single market’.”

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told Sky News that although continued single market membership remained an option, it would be “difficult” for that to happen given Labour’s desire to change the immigration system.

Labour has “not taken anything off the table” but “we are clear about what it is that we want to be able to achieve, and that will be difficult within the single market”.

Ms Thornberry told BBC One’s Sunday Politics that it would be good for the economy to “stay as close as we can” to the EU.

“The problem that the British country has is that a good half of the Tory party wants to go sailing off into the mid-Atlantic with no deal at all and that would be disastrous for our country,” she said.

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