Belfast Telegraph

Welsh First Minister calls for UK to remain in single market after Brexit

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has said there is no need to leave the European single market when Britain leaves the European Union.

He told the BBC the UK could have "full and unfettered access" to the market after Brexit, as he cited the relationship Norway has with the bloc.

Labour's Mr Jones also said it would be "crazy" to suggest that tariffs on selling goods into the EU after Brexit would not cause problems for British farmers.

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Jones said: "If we were not in the single market, we would be having a debate about how to access it, not how to leave it.

"There is no need to leave the single market, even as we leave the EU."

Pressed on his views, he added: "I don't accept that that's necessary at all.

"I went to Norway in January, they are not members of the EU, but they have almost full access to the single market.

"You don't have to leave the EU and leave one of the world's biggest markets at the same time.

"That's an interpretation that's been put on the result by the current UK Government and that makes no sense at all."

Mr Jones said Britain could not be a member of the single market and set the rules outside the EU.

"That doesn't mean that we can't participate in the single market," he added.

"We wouldn't control the rules, but we'd have full and unfettered access."

On Sunday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the UK must leave the single market as it is "inextricably" linked with EU membership.

Mr Jones also warned that "London shouldn't become the new Brussels" and negotiations should be done in partnership with the UK's devolved administrations.

"It has to be done in a way that is done by consent and not by imposition, otherwise it just replicates the European Commission in London and I'm not sure that's what people voted for," he said.

The Welsh First Minister added it would be an "utter failure" to leave the EU with no new trade deal in place, with 90% of food and drink exports going into the European single market.

He said: "For any rational, sane politician to suggest that tariffs are no problem to make it more difficult to sell in that market is crazy."

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