SDLP leader urges Jeremy Corbyn to back single market

Colum Eastwood Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Colum Eastwood said a hard Brexit could undermine Labour's work on the Good Friday Agreement

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has been warned by the SDLP that a hard Brexit could undermine the peace process in Northern Ireland.

In a letter to Mr Corbyn, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood urged him to ensure that the UK remains in the single market and customs union after leaving the EU.

Mr Eastwood said a hard Brexit could undermine the Labour Party's work on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

He also called on Mr Corbyn to visit Ireland's border region.

Mr Eastwood told BBC Radio Foyle: "We shouldn't play games with the peace process or with our economy.

"I think Jeremy Corbyn needs to understand how delicate the peace process in Northern Ireland is, particularly now.

"The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland want - but also need - the UK to stay in the single market and customs union to protect us from a hard border."

'Disaster'

Mr Eastwood said the "great work of the Labour Party in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement" could be undermined by a hard border in Ireland.

"If we can't stop Brexit we need to ensure that we stay in the single market and custom union - anything less than that would be an economic and political disaster on this part of the island."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn has said membership of the single market is dependent on membership of the EU

The single market and the customs union allow barrier-free trade between EU member states - without the imposition of tariffs.

Mr Corbyn has said that continuing to be part of the single market is dependent on membership of the European Union.

Mr Eastwood said he had sent Mr Corbyn a "friendly letter" urging him to support remaining in the EU single market and the customs union after Brexit.

He said as a sister party of Labour it was vital the SDLP applies "whatever pressure we can".

The party leaders are due to meet later this week at Westminster.

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