Umunna and McGovern – Lords must back new amendments on Single Market

On Tuesday, the Lords will be debating three cross-party amendments on UK membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), more commonly known as the Single Market.

The amendments have been tabled by Labour Lord Alli, Conservative Baroness Verma and cross-bencher Lord Bilimoria.


Commenting, Chuka Umunna, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“The Customs Union has been the focus over the last few weeks, but - as the Irish Government has made clear - staying in the Single Market is important in avoiding a return to a hard border in Northern Ireland too. 

“Given the numbers of Conservative MPs now supporting the UK continuing to participate in the EEA, Labour is looking a gift horse in the mouth. We can keep the UK in the EEA - and its protections for workers, consumers and the environment - by supporting this move.

“We know the damage leaving the Single Market will do to our economy, to public services and to our NHS, so it would go against Labour’s progressive values for the party not to vote in favour of these amendments tabled by Lord Alli, a leading equalities campaigner, in the Lords.”


Alison McGovern, Co-Chair of the Labour Campaign for the Single Market, said:

“The Government’s own analysis shows that crashing out of the Single Market will cause a crippling hit to our economy, which is why it made no sense for Theresa May to rule out Single Market membership before the Brexit negotiations had even started.

“If passed, these amendments in the Lords would be a big step forward in avoiding a hard and destructive Brexit, which is why all Labour Peers should get behind them.”



Notes to Editors

Background on EEA/EFTA support


10 MPs on the record as supportive of the EEA/EFTA option.

There have been two Tory sponsored Westminster Hall debates in Parliament signalling support for the Single Market. The first was led by Stephen Hammond MP, on 7 February 2018, on the subject of the European Free Trade Association and included supportive speeches from:

Anna Soubry MP, Nicky Morgan MP, Dominic Grieve MP, Antoinette Sandbach MP, Paul Masterton MP, Caroline Spellman MP, James Cartlidge MP, Jeremy Lefroy MP and John Stephenson MP.

The second debate on Leaving the EU: No-deal Alternatives, led by Antoinette Sandbach MP on 21 February 2018 also featured a supportive speech from Heidi Allen MP.



All Labour MPs whipped to vote for New Clause 22 (on the Single Market) to the European (Withdrawal) Bill at Committee Stage on 13 December 2017 (at 9pm). 242 Labour MPs vote for the Amendment.  The wording of the amendment:

“EEA Agreement


No Minister may, under this Act, notify the withdrawal of the United Kingdom

from the EEA Agreement, whether under Article 127 of that Agreement or



Regulations under this Act may not make any provision that would constitute a

breach of the United Kingdom’s obligations under the EEA Agreement.


Regulations under this Act may not amend or repeal subsection (1) or (2).”