Labour for a soft Brexit

The British opposition Labour party has outlined its vision for the post-EU era. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Britain should remain in the customs union - a soft Brexit stance also favoured by high-ranking members of Prime Minister Theresa May's party. How will this affect the future of Brexit?

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Britian would remain tied to EU's apron strings

Remaining in the customs union would constitute a betrayal of the needs of the people who voted for Brexit, claims The Daily Telegraph:

“First, Britain must be free to negotiate new trade deals or to vary its tariffs as it sees fit - on goods, services, agriculture, whatever we wish, as long as we are compliant with World Trade Organisation rules. Secondly, we must be free to diverge from the vast majority of EU rules if we choose to do so - and without having to ask permission from the EU. If those two conditions are met, Brexit will have happened. If not, we will end up stuck in a halfway house, with limited upsides and too many downsides.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Corbyn fuels Tory tensions

Corbyn's appeal for a customs union will have an explosive impact among the Conservatives, professor of economics Paul de Grauwe writes in De Morgen:

“For the hard Brexiteers [a customs union] would curtail the country's sovereignty to an unacceptable extent. Without it, however, customs controls would have to be introduced between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. And that in turn crosses a red line for many Conservatives (and indeed the Irish government). So the Conservative camp may well vote with Labour to ensure that Britain remains in the customs union. And that would really escalate the conflict within the British government. Exciting times lie ahead across the English Channel.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

May critics in a quandary

With his proposal to remain in the customs union Labour leader Corbyn has put pro-Remain Tories in a dilemma, argues the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“Because if they all voted for the customs union they could not only help topple Theresa May but also push a full-blooded Tory Brexiteer into Downing Street. Or they could unintentionally pave the way for new elections and Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister. On Friday Theresa May will have to try to convince the rebels who think that her Brexit plan for a unique trade agreement, unlike Labour's plan for a customs union, is purely wishful thinking.”