David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has dismissed suggestions that Britain's single market membership was back on the table as a result of the general election, insisting that both Conservatives and Labour agreed it was incompatible with the EU referendum vote.
In a round of media interviews on Monday, Davis said the government's negotiating position would remain focused on getting the best possible access to the single market from outside.
“Something like 80% of the British people voted for the parties that have accepted we have to leave the European Union,” Davis told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. “The parties that didn’t do that, who wanted to reverse the decision, the liberals and the SNP, have all had setbacks.”
He continued: "The reason for leaving the single market is because we want to take back control of our borders – they are not compatible.
"People voted for three things: control of borders, control of laws, control of money. In order to deliver that, you can’t do that inside the single market. What do you do? You try and have the best possible access from outside."
On ITV's Good Morning Britain, Davis continued: "It is in the national interest that we proceed with these negotiations, which the country voted for. There is actually, it now emerges, very little difference between the position of the Labour party and the position of the government. There’s a huge actual majority in the House of Commons for the kind of negotiating position she is going to be taking."
On Sunday, Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell told ITV's Peston show that it was "not feasible" to remain part of the single market and leave the EU. Remaining in the single market was not what the electorate voted for, he said.
But there are already signs of cracks in the Labour position. On Monday, the shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner suggested the party could still back continued single market membership.
"What we've said is that we need those benefits, and whether they're achieved through reformed membership of the the single market and the customs union, or through a new, bespoke trading arrangement, is actually secondary to achieving the benefits," Gardiner told the Today programme.
"It's an open question as to what we can get, What we criticised [the Conservatives] for doing is taking membership of the single market off the table right from the beginning."
Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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