Corbyn is for hard Brexit, so he is officially for his party's few, not its many

@MarrShow/Twitter Screengrab

Labour's uncomfortable position with the European question is once again driving a wedge in the party.

Analysis of Labour members by the Party Members Project was reported in the Guardianas showing a majority supported staying in the EU Single Market.

Reportedly 66 per cent of Labour members surveys wanted to stay in the Single Market, and 49 per cent think there should 'definitely' be a vote on the final Brexit deal with the EU.

Yet the leaderships' current stance on these issues appears to be at odds with the membership.

Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Corbyn ruled out Single Market membership on the grounds that 'the two are inextricably linked'.

He added that what Labour wants is tariff free trade 'access' to the 'European market.'

Hours after, the Labour MP Wes Streeting appeared to respond to his leader's comments.

The rules of the single market, mean that members must allow the free flow between states of these four things:

  • Goods
  • People
  • Services
  • Capital

Similarly, the European Economic Area is an area of free movement of trade and people, that includes the member states of the EU and others.

As Streeting points out, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are all members of the European Economic Area, without being members of EU.

Labour MPs such as Chuka Ummuna, who support Britain's membership of the Single Market, have been criticised by Corbyn acolytes as if they are deliberately hampering the party.

As a politician leading a party that wants to become the government, it would make sense if Corbyn was thinking of his appeal to the entire electorate, and not just the approximate 560,000 Labour members.

Assuming they were all registered to vote, that would be just 0.01 per cent of the 2017 registered voters.

Who can say if trying to cater to more than the will of your members is 'helpful'?

None of this should be news to Labour members

In April 2016, ahead of the referendum, he made the 'socialist case' for staying in the EU, but also spoke about the union's 'shortcomings'.

Yet once the results were announced, Corbyn and his leadership team have accommodated a Brexit policy.

Jeremy Corbyn committed the party to ending free movement of people after Brexitbefore the election.

In the 1975 referendum on staying inside the Common Market (a forerunner to the Single Market), Corbyn reportedly voted to leave it.

As of Sunday, he's made clear that Britain will not be a member of the Single Market if he has anything to say about it.

It sets him in line with the 4.2 per cent of his party who were 'definitely against' the idea of Single Market membership, in the same poll.

It also puts him out of step with the 58 per cent of voters who told a YouGov/Times poll in June, after the election, that they agreed with the statement:

Britain should be able to trade freely with the EU even if it means allowing EU citizens to live and work in the UK.

Conversely 42 per cent said the UK should prioritise control of EU immigration even if that meant no free trade deal.

The country, much like Labour, is split.

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