'I believe in the single market' Alistair Darling casts doubts over post-Brexit Britain

Mrs May and her government insist there will be no “running commentary” on the ongoing Brexit process – despite calls for greater parliamentary scrutiny.

But Lord Darling, Chancellor to Gordon Brown, hit back warning the British public had been “lulled into a false sense of security” over the post-Brexit economy promises from the Government.

The 62-year-old claimed secrecy will be damaging to the UK economy unless the EU and business owners are provided with more detail.

Speaking on All Out Politics on Sky News Lord Darling said: “Until we know what our negotiating stance is going to be – and we simply don’t know that yet – and what will the likely reaction be of the other side the EU, firms and decisions makers won’’ actually know what the rules of the game are likely to be.

“But I stand by what I said, this will be damaging to the UK economy.”

He added: “What is absolutely essential now is that the Prime Minister spells out what she actually wants.

“We’ve had hints through the Nissan deal for example, that we want the automotive industry to be in the single market and part of the customs union.

“Philip Hammond has said he wants the single market for the financial services industry, which is very big in the UK.

“We need to know where the government stands. I firmly believe that being members of the single market and the customers union, so we don’t have all the hassle of goods being stopped at the border and so on. 

“To fall back on the World Trade Organisation regime where you have got to get 160 countries to agree with you – that’s taking a hell of a risk.

“It’s absolutely critical for British industry, not just manufacturing, but our services industry as well, which is our biggest export.”

Lord Darling, who stood alongside George Osborne and prophesied tax rises and spending cuts in a post-Brexit emergency budget, warned there “is always a lag before the full effect is felt”.

He said: “Our intention, our negotiating remit, when it comes to the discussions with our European partners is to have a constructive dialogue and look for common interest here.

“Our objective would be to ensure continued access to the markets in Europe and vice versa without tariffs and bureaucratic impediments, and that is how we will approach these negotiations.”

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