UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn urges country to stay in tariff-free trading bloc after Brexit

  • Corbyn, from the left-leaning Labour party, said he favors staying in the customs union.
  • Labour's stance could potentially cause problems for Prime Minister Theresa May as she tries to push Brexit legislation through parliament.
  • In an opinion piece for The Sunday Telegraph, Brexit Secretary David Davis said Labour's policy would allow free movement to continue, and accused Corbyn of "selling snake oil."
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party
Mary Turner | Reuters
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the U.K.'s parliamentary opposition, unveiled his party's plan for Brexit, saying the country should stay in a permanent customs union with the EU after it leaves.

Corbyn, from the left-leaning Labour party, said he favors staying in the customs union — a trade agreement that eliminates customs duties between EU member states. This is in direct contrast to the ruling Conservative party, which sees membership as potentially stifling any future agreements the U.K. might make with countries like China and India.

"Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive U.K.-EU customs union to ensure there are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need whatsoever for a hard border in Northern Ireland," Corbyn said in a speech in the English city of Coventry Monday.

Labour's stance could potentially cause problems for Prime Minister Theresa May as she tries to push Brexit legislation through parliament. May only has a thin majority after elections last year and it's expected Conservative rebels could side with Labour if they decide they don't like her plans for the U.K. post-Brexit.

Both parties are seeking to leave the EU's single market, which is a deeper form of co-operation between member states and allows the free movement of goods, services, money and people in the bloc.

In an opinion piece for The Sunday Telegraph, Brexit Secretary David Davis said Labour's policy would allow free movement to continue, and accused Corbyn of "selling snake oil."