10 January 2017
Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, has responded to a proposed speech by Jeremy Corbyn in which he is planning to say that “Labour is not wedded to Freedom of Movement as a point of principle."
Lucas has accused the Labour leader of capitulating to the Tories on brexit. Her comments come after the German Chancellor confirmed that ending free movement will also mean an end to access to the Single Market. Angela Merkel said yesterday that 'access to the single market is only possible under the condition of adherence to the four basic principles (movement of goods, capital, people, and services).'
Responding to extracts of Jeremy Corbyn's speech released in advance, Caroline Lucas MP said:
"In the space of a few short weeks Jeremy Corbyn has gone from backing free movement in Europe to joining the Conservatives plans for Brexit by abandoning his commitment to it. This capitulation to the Tories is astounding, especially considering that it means sacrificing membership of the single market and putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.
"The Labour Party is handing the post-referendum process to the Conservatives on a plate. First they risk throwing Britain off the Brexit cliff edge by voting with them to trigger Article 50 prematurely and now they seem set to sacrifice our access to the single market by joining the Tory blame game on free movement. At a time when we need a real opposition more than ever we're seeing Labour dancing to the Tories' Brexit tune.
"To protect our economy, public services and environmental and social protections the Green Party believe that we must remain a member of the single market. Part of the deal with the single market means that EU nationals can come here to live and work, and Brits can do the same across Europe. Though free movement supports Britain’s economy, not everyone feels those gains and the Government must to more to distribute the benefits to every community. The Green Party will continue to defend free movement, and stand up for the rights of people from across Europe who have come here to live, work and study."