LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's opposition Labour Party threw down the gauntlet to Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, offering potential rebels in her Conservative Party a way to defy her and vote for a new single market deal with the EU after Brexit.
Parliament will vote next week on May's Brexit blueprint, the EU withdrawal bill, pitching lawmakers who want a clean break with the European Union against those demanding a closer relationship after Britain leaves in March next year.
Labour said in a statement it had tabled an amendment to the bill calling on the government to negotiate full access to the EU's single market, to keep common minimum standards, rights and protections, to share joint institutions and regulations and to ensure there are no new impediments to trade.
"Labour will only accept a Brexit deal that delivers the benefits of the single market and protects jobs and living standards," said Keir Starmer, Labour's Brexit policy chief.
"Unlike the Tories (Conservatives), Labour will not sacrifice jobs and the economy in the pursuit of a reckless and extreme interpretation of the referendum result.
Some Conservative lawmakers have suggested they could vote against the government on June 12 to back amendments passed down from the upper house of parliament on the EU's customs union and staying in the European Economic Area (EEA), which would mean remaining in the single market.
Both parties have ruled out remaining in the EEA -- the so-called Norway deal -- but Labour has tried to put clear water between it and the government by calling for a new customs union and now a new single market deal.
A source said any new single market deal would have to allow for control over immigration - one of the four freedoms that govern the EU's single market.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison)
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Updated Date: Jun 06, 2018 00:06 AM