Former education secretary Michael Gove has accused Labour of being its own “coalition of chaos” over alleged splits in the party’s position on Brexit.
Mr Gove said the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn would take Britain out of the single market whereas a group of leading Labour former shadow ministers launched a campaign on Friday to remain part of the trading bloc.
Former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, who has spearheaded the campaign, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was no split on the issue, with his proposals simply going one stage further than that proposed by the Labour leadership.
Mr Gove said: “Until now, we’ve been worried that Jeremy Corbyn, if he became prime minister, would be presiding over a coalition of chaos.
“Now we understand that Labour is itself a coalition of chaos.
“On the one hand you have people like Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer who want us outside the single market, on the other hand Chuka and his friends who want us inside.”
Mr Umunna said Labour had not ruled out staying part of the single market.
“One of the principles, the six principles that have been set out by the leadership, is that they will gauge the Prime Minister’s delivery on the Brexit negotiations according to whether or not she is able to secure the exact same trading benefits as we get from our membership of the single market and our membership of the customs union,” he claimed.
“We’ve just simply gone one step further, to say we don’t believe that you can do that unless you remain a member of the customs union and the single market particularly.”
Mr Umunna said more than 600,000 jobs in London were dependent on membership of the EU single market and that freedom of movement could be reformed if the UK stayed in.
Former justice secretary Mr Gove said the EU had repeatedly refused to change its stance, as he accused Mr Umunna of trying to “revisit the referendum result and turn the clock back”.