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Labour’s political calculations: explaining the party’s muddled policy on Brexit
The Labour Party’s stance on Brexit, Nick Cohen recently mused in the Observer, ‘is grounded in old-style Leninist fantasy.’ It is an imaginative if fanciful way of explaining Labour’s muddled policy, but the real reasons are more mundane, less to do with ideology than the force of circumstance. But he is right in arguing that Labour’s policy is a muddle. The official line is that Labour will only accept a Brexit deal which passes its ‘six tests’, the most important of which is that it secures ‘the exact same benefits as we currently have as members of the single market and the customs union.’ Hence it is urging continued membership of the customs union and a ‘strong relationship’ with the single market which together can guarantee frictionless trade, whilst reserving for Britain the right to set its own immigration and industrial policies.
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