Brexit: MPs reject bid to stay in EEA amid Labour revolt

BBC reports that attempts to keep the UK in the European Economic Area after Brexit have been defeated in the House of Commons, amid a major Labour revolt over the issue.

MPs reversed a move to retain the UK’s EEA links after it leaves the EU next year, which had been backed by the House of Lords, by 327 votes to 126.

Jeremy Corbyn urged his MPs to abstain but 75 voted for and 15 against, while six quit their frontbench roles.

MPs overturned six further amendments inserted into key legislation by peers.

Supporters of the EEA argue it would give the UK the closest possible relationship with the EU without actually being a member, as it would offer full access to the single market.

But critics say it would require the UK to adhere to EU rules without having a say in them – and would not be in keeping with the spirit of the 2016 referendum result.

All members of the EU also belong to the EEA, alongside non-EU countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

In return for market access, the latter are obliged to make a financial contribution and accept the majority of EU laws. The free movement of people also applies in the zone as it does in the EU.

The government won the EEA vote comfortably after Labour abstained, although three Tory MPs, Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve, rebelled themselves and backed the motion.

Source: BBC News

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