Lib Dem leader urges Labour to support bid to rewrite Brexit bill

PUBLISHED: 10:03 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:08 11 December 2017

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable

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The option of staying in the single market must be kept on the table, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said, as he called for Labour to support his efforts to rewrite the Government's Brexit Bill.

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Sir Vince said Jeremy Corbyn's party had benefited from the support of pro-European Union young voters at the general election but had ended up being "in the same place" as the government over Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill which would keep open the option of a Norway-style relationship which would see the UK leave the EU but remain in the single market.

"It's inferior to where we are but it's better than the alternative of not having a close relationship with the European Union," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The Labour position has been pretty ambiguous and they have got away without detailed cross-questioning so far.

"But they give the impression that they want Britain to stay as close as possible to the European Union, and that's why an awful lot of young people I think voted for them in the June election."

In a message to Mr Corbyn and the party's leadership he said "large numbers of Labour backbenchers do support Britain remaining within the single market and the customs union and feel the government made a mistake by ruling that out".

"And we hope that a lot of those Labour people, and maybe some Conservatives, will support us."

The Government's Brexit legislation returns to the Commons on Tuesday for the latest stage of its line-by-line scrutiny.

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