Jeremy Corbyn denies Brexit shift reported in EU memo

9 February 2018, 11:00

Jeremy Corbyn has denied telling the EU's chief Brexit negotiator he is open to Britain staying in the customs union.

The Labour leader allegedly made the comment in a meeting with Michel Barnier earlier this week.

It was recorded in an EU memo and reported in Friday's Daily Telegraph.

But a spokesperson for Mr Corbyn talked down the claim.

They said: "Jeremy did not say he was open to staying in the customs union. He said that a customs union was a viable end point.

"We have been clear all the way through that you can't be in the customs union if you are not in the EU."

All member states are by default part of the EU's customs union.

That is the system which permits goods trading without customs checks inside the bloc.

In exchange, countries agree universal tariffs being on goods being imported from outside the EU.

Mr Corbyn has acknowledged the UK will automatically leave the customs union on Brexit day - expected to be 29 March 2019.

But Labour wants the current terms of the customs union to be replicated during the transition period.

And it is leaving the door open on forming a new customs union with the EU in the future

In contrast, Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this week ruled out the UK joining any form of customs union with the EU after Brexit.

Mr Barnier is due to give a media conference on this week's technical negotiations later on Friday.