SNP attempts to rally cross-party support to keep UK in single market

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The SNP’s leader at Westminster has invited Jeremy Corbyn to a new year cross-party summit on retaining membership of the single market and customs union.

Ian Blackford said safeguarding membership would protect jobs, incomes and workers’ rights from the “catastrophic damage” of an extreme Brexit.

His party, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, and the Green Party are all committed to remaining in the single market and customs union despite Prime Minister Theresa May ruling it out.

The SNP believes a parliamentary majority to retain membership can be secured if Labour back cross-party plans and are joined by Conservatives in favour of a soft Brexit.

Mr Blackford has invited opposition leaders to the summit in the House of Commons on Monday January 8, the first day back from the Westminster Christmas recess.

He said: “As we move into the crucial second phase of the Brexit negotiations it is now absolutely vital that we have an effective cross-party effort to safeguard our membership of the single market and customs union.

“Extreme Tory Brexit plans to drag Scotland and the UK out of the single market would cause catastrophic damage to the economy – costing hundreds of thousands of jobs, and hitting people’s incomes, livelihoods and living standards for decades to come.

“It is time for MPs of all parties to put politics aside and work together, in the national interest, to protect our place in the single market and customs union.

“Short of retaining our EU membership, that is by far the least damaging option, the best compromise, and the only way to protect jobs, incomes, and workers’ rights.

“As we saw with the successful amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, when opposition parties work together effectively it is possible to secure a parliamentary majority and deliver change in the national interest.”

A Conservative spokesman said: “The best thing the SNP could do is knuckle down and make Brexit work for everyone, instead of continually seeking to create division.”