Labour has promised to fight to keep the UK in both of the EU single market and customs union for a transitional period after leaving the bloc, in a shocking betrayal of Brexit.
The dramatic policy reversal was set out by Sir Keir Starmer, the left-wing party’s Brexit secretary, after months of vague posturing from the shadow cabinet.
But the shift in policy would mean accepting the free movement of labour after leaving the EU in March 2019.
Radio 5Live host Adrian Goldberg said many Labour Leavers will now be left feeling betrayed by a party which has ignored their democratic will.
During a paper review last night, Mr Goldberg told his panel of journalists: “It is a clear line between the two parties.
“But, if you were a Labour supporter and you voted for Brexit, and we are now going towards 2019.
“Labour is talking about a period beyond that where we have members of the Single Market, the customs union, and free movement of labour.
“People will say, hold on a minute where is the Brexit I voted for?”
Allie Renison echoed this remarks, claiming frontbenchers were signalling that this policy shift was essentially a decision “to stay in the EU” after all.
Mrs Renison, who heads Europe and Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: “I want to take issue with the question of staying in the EU customs union.
“This is the reality: if you are not in the EU, you cannot be in the customs union. They effectively can’t be in the customs union after they leave.”
She said: “On the Single Market shift, there is no way for the UK to be in a Norway position once it is outside the EU.
“Britain’s position in the Single Market comes as a virtue of a member in the EU.
“Labour frontbenchers have said this is akin to essentially staying in the EU.”
Sir Keir said a transitional period was needed to avoid a “cliff edge” for the economy, so goods and services could continue to flow while negotiations on the permanent deal continued.
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s office confirmed the proposals had been agreed with him and were official policy.
The customs union is the EU’s tariff-free trading area while the single market includes the free movement of goods, services, capital and people.
Nigel Farage said Mr Corbyn’s flip-flop has “betrayed every Labour voter in the country”.