Corbyn tells MPs: Norway-style Brexit should not be an option

Jeremy Corbyn has told Labour MPs that a Norway-style Brexit option should not be considered an option for the UK.

Speaking at a private meeting, the Labour leader told MPs that the Norway-option would likely leave Britain as “rule taker” without the influence held at EU level.

A membership to the European Economic Area (EEA) would give the UK full access to the EU’s internal market, however, it would also have to accept free movement and accept EU regulations without a presence in Brussels.

“Jeremy made clear that from our point of view, we have set out our priorities for the Brexit negotiations, including negotiating a new customs union with the EU with Britain having a day in trade details, and a new and strong relationship with the single market, retaining the benefits … we’ve set that out since the beginning,” said a senior Labour source.

“The EEA packages that are currently in existence do not meet the needs and priorities that we’ve set out and the Norway option is not appropriate and will not work for the kind of Brexit we want to see.”

Last week, peers in the House of Lords, voted in favour of the UK becoming a non-EU member of the EEA, meaning the issue has now been passed to MPs.

John Mann, the Labour MP for Bassetlaw, said: “Lots of Labour people were getting up saying no, we’re not backtracking on the referendum. That’s not happened before at the PLP.”

“It was quite a significant moment in my view. In a sense that strengthens Jeremy Corbyn’s hand on his current position. But it kills dead all this stuff from the House of Lords that’s additional – it’s clearly not going to have Labour’s support.”

This week the Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, said that Norway would be open to the UK joining them, Iceland and Liechtenstein in the EEA. 

“I think we will cope very well if the Brits come in,” she told the Financial Times.“It will give bargaining power on our side too. And it would ease Norway’s access to the UK.”

Currently, prime minister Theresa May has expressed hopes to withdraw from the single market and not accept free movement – signalling a move away from the Norway option.