Brexit shock: Labour's secret plan revealed - Shadow Cabinet member says Britain WILL rejoin European Union
Downing Street has previously labelled suggestions of a 'Swiss-style' agreement 'categorically untrue'
A Labour MP has said the UK rejoining the EU is a conceivable prospect.
Speaking to The i, a member of Labour’s shadow Cabinet said Britain’s future may lay within the bloc, or close economic ties.
They said: “Over the long run, I can see Britain being a member of the EU again. Or at least having an economic relationship that’s essentially the same thing.”
In recent months, Brexit has shown signs of life amid suggestions the UK could seek a “Swiss-style” arrangement in order to open up trade with the EU in a bid to boost its economy.
Downing Street labelled suggestions “categorically untrue” despite suggestions the UK is seeking a more positive relationship with the EU.
The Sunday Times reported in November that a ‘Swiss-style’ move could take place over the next decade as the Government eyes up a closer relationship with the EU that avoids the current barriers to trade.
Any such shift, only a few years after Boris Johnson secured a deal with the EU after years of back-and-forth negotiations, would likely inflame backbench Tory Brexiteers.
Downing Street sources rejected the report but the Times suggested that behind closed doors some in Government have indicated that the pursuit of a frictionless trading relationship with the bloc requires moving to a Swiss-style arrangement over the next 10 years.
According to the paper, this would not extend to a return to freedom of movement.
Switzerland and the EU have a close economic relationship based on a series of bilateral agreements, giving the country direct access to parts of the EU’s internal market including the free movement of people.
The UK is locked in long-running talks with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, a post-Brexit arrangement for the region designed to avoid a border on the island of Ireland.
Unionists have opposed the protocol as impeding trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, placing a border in the Irish Sea.
This has resulted in the collapse of the Stormont Assembly, with top civil servants left to run government departments.
However, there have been renewed hopes in recent weeks that a deal can be secured and the relationship improved between the UK and the EU after years of tensions.
A Swiss-style veterinary agreement has been one of the options mooted by some on the EU side as a solution to the protocol dispute, while in the years after the Brexit vote a deal inspired by the Swiss-EU relationship was seen as one among many options for the UK after it voted to leave the bloc.
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