Jeremy Corbyn rejects EU Brexit plan on state intervention

LONDON — A Labour government would pursue a Brexit deal without single market rules and directives pushing privatization, Jeremy Corbyn said Friday.

The Labour leader said he would not sign up to an agreement with Brussels that stifles Labour’s economic intervention plans, which include the re-nationalization of railways and the postal service.

Under his plan for Brexit the U.K. would be protected from EU rules and directives that push privatization and public service competition, he said.

Speaking at the Scottish Labour conference, Corbyn accused U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May of permanently tying the U.K. to EU rules he claimed were used to block support for British industry.

Corbyn’s speech comes just two days after European Council President Donald Tusk put forward draft Brexit negotiating guidelines, which included a clause calling for “robust guarantees which ensure a level playing field” and would prevent the U.K. undercutting “current levels of protection with respect to competition and state aid, tax, social, environment and regulatory measures and practices.”

Any Labour Brexit deal would prevent employers from being able to import cheap agency labor to “undercut existing pay and conditions in the name of free market orthodoxy,” Corbyn said.

“The European Union is set to make changes of its own in the coming period especially in relation to the rules governing eurozone economies and the rights of temporary migrant workers.

“It would therefore be wrong to sign up to a single market deal without agreement that our final relationship with the EU would be fully compatible with our radical plans to change Britain’s economy,” he said.

Corbyn announced last week that Labour would keep the U.K. in a customs union, but many of his party would like to see Labour soften its position further and campaign for the U.K. to also stay in the single market.

In his speech Friday, Corbyn rejected an “off-the-peg” Brexit model.

“The Norwegian model may work for Norway, but we need to find our own model that works for everybody in the U.K.,” he said.


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