Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has defended Labour’s position on Brexit, insisting it is not a betrayal of people in the town who voted to leave the EU.
The party has come under fire from pro-Leave figures after Jeremy Corbyn said this week that Labour will seek a final deal that gives full access to European markets and maintains the benefits of the single market and customs union.
A customs union allows free-flowing trade between member nations, without businesses paying export taxes or tariffs, although members usually have a joint trade agreement with countries not in their union.
Theresa May has insisted the UK will leave the single market and the customs market, allowing it to negotiate its own trade deals.
Mr Hill said: “As in any discussions we cannot go into the negotiating forum empty handed. It is well known now that a so-called ‘Hard Brexit’ will be damaging to our economy and - more importantly for me - to the job prospects and economic development of the town.”
He said he will always vote against handing powers over to ministers without parliamentary scrutiny.
Mr Hill added: “The North East is the biggest exporting region to Europe in the country.
“We also manufacture and export goods outside of the EU and have a unique niche in the market for doing so, like our offshore technologies exporters such as Hereema.
“Local jobs and future business growth depends on us getting Brexit right.
“My mandate as a Labour MP is clear from the people of my town; exit the EU - but don’t crucify us at the same time.”