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Rebel MPs push for change of course on Brexit

By Alan McGuinness, political reporter
Rebel MPs are pushing for the government to change course on Brexit and negotiate an agreement that would keep Britain in the EU's single market.
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have rejected staying in the European Economic Area (EEA), but supporters of a Norway-style agreement say it would protect jobs and businesses.:: UK cars 'wont qualify for free trade deals' post-BrexitBrexit legislation will return to the Commons next week, setting up a parliamentary showdown on the UK's European exit.It comes after the Lords inflicted 15 defeats on the EU Withdrawal Bill, which the government will attempt to overturn during a marathon Commons debate on Tuesday.Both Labour and the Conservatives are divided on Brexit, with disquiet in Mr Corbyn's party over an amendment tabled by shadow cabinet ministers which stops short of backing EEA membership.
Rebel MPs push for change of course on Brexit

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Last month in the Lords 83 Labour peers defied an order from Mr Corbyn to abstain and voted for UK membership of the EEA.:: Corbyn: Brexit has 'more delays than Northern Rail'But instead of backing the Lords amendment on the EEA, the Labour leader has come up with his own alternative proposal.The party's official amendments to the Brexit Bill call on the PM to negotiate a "new single market" deal for the UK.Critics of the stance have accused Mr Corbyn of saving Mrs May from a potential rebellion on the issue of the single market.Devoid of a Commons majority, the PM is vulnerable to a revolt from her own backbenches.
Rebel MPs push for change of course on Brexit

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Mrs May has committed to leaving the EU's single market and customs union as part of Brexit, but opponents from within and without her party want her to change tack as they fear this will damage the British economy.At least 12 of her MPs have signalled their support for staying in the EEA, leading to claims from some quarters that Labour could team up with these Tories to defeat the government.But Sir Keir said the EEA amendment was too divisive in his party, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The difficulty with that, and I think everybody recognises this, is that there are very strong and very different views across the PLP on that particular amendment.
"So, whilst there's unity on all the others and we will all be voting together, on that amendment there are very divided views."
Rebel MPs push for change of course on Brexit

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Labour MP Chuka Umunna said he would rebel against the leadership and back the EEA plan.He said: "The option of us continuing to participate in the single market is only dead insofar as the Labour frontbench seek to adopt that position and I sincerely hope that we will do right by our values and seek to keep us in the EEA."At an event hosted by the Open Britain campaign, Mr Umunna said a "large number" of Labour colleagues would be joining him."Every single MP needs to make their own decision about this in the national interest and in the interest of their own constituents," he said."This is one of those issues where if you just blindly follow orders people will not forgive you."An amendment to the Trade Bill has revealed the level of Tory support for the EEA. Former minister Stephen Hammond is believed to be one of the dozen Conservative MPs behind it.Conservative MP Anna Soubry, an EEA backer, said a majority of MPs would support staying in the single market if the matter was put to a free vote - but a "culture of fear" was stopping some from voicing their true feelings.Speaking at the same Open Britain event as Mr Umunna, she said that Tories at all levels of government - including the cabinet - were in favour of an EEA deal."They will not speak out, they will not be true to what they believe in," she said.
Rebel MPs push for change of course on Brexit

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"That has got to change, we cannot allow this culture of fear that has developed to continue any longer."Brexit minister Suella Braverman said Labour was guilty of "shattering their promise to respect the referendum result".
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"This amendment means accepting free movement and continuing to follow EU rules with absolutely no say in them, which is the worst of all worlds," she said.The Lib Dems accused Labour of "peddling snake oil in a bottle wrapped with the EU" with their amendments, insisting the only way to access the single market is to be part of the EEA.
news.sky.com
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