Former Labour party leader Neil Kinnock has criticised Jeremy Corbyns decision not to keep Britain in the single market after Brexit as a “serious evasion of duty”.
Writing in the Independent newspaper today, Kinnock explained why he and 82 of his Labour colleagues in the House of Lords broke the party whip to vote in favour an amendment proposed by Waheed Alli to keep the UK in the European Economic Area (EEA).
"Not continuing in the EEA would mean endangering – sacrificing – thousands of skilled and decently paid jobs and, with them, the life chances of countless families and communities," said Kinnock.
In a seeming a rallying cry for other MPs to break ranks with the embattled Labour leader, Kinnock said that while he respects Labour leadership, “I have also said that virtue, in excess, fills graveyards”.
Leaving the single market, said Kinnock, would do “lethal damage” to industries across the UK, while British services would take a “battering”.
On the other hand, if the UK were to remain in the EEA, and retain full access to the EU's internal market of 300m consumers, Kinnock said the country would “sustain employment and prospects for workers in this and future generations”.
In perhaps his most pointed jab at Corbyn, Kinnock said that anyone who did not support the UKs access to the single market would be “letting myopic politics suppress realism”.
Kinnock also claimed that arguments against remaining in the EEA were “based on falsehood”:
“The objections to supporting EEA membership from some in the upper reaches of the Labour Party seem to centre on claims that it would either restrict a Labour governments freedom of socialist action, or that it would mean ignoring our supporters who voted to leave the EU, or both.
“Neither the EEA nor the EU are part of the socialist superstate of neocon delusion or of the global capitalist adventure playground of infantile leftist illusion.”