Former shadow minister Chuka Umunna has said Labour must distance itself from the Conservatives with their position on Brexit. He said Labour should support staying within the European single market and the customs union, adding that it was not enough to have a goal of not damaging the economy.

“There’s got to be clear red water between our position, the Labour party’s position, and Theresa May’s extreme, jobs-destroying Brexit position,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“To my mind, that means we absolutely do need to be arguing for the UK to remain a member of the single market and also of the customs union after we leave the European Union.”

He also said that he was not against holding a second referendum if the UK were unable to negotiate the kind of Brexit voter were promised prior to last year’s vote: “I think what the British people expect us to do is to do our very best to deliver Brexit in the terms they thought that they could have. And if we’ve exhausted all the avenues through this negotiation, then I think it’s an open question on that.

“But at the moment our instruction is to get the very best deal for the United Kingdom in the way that we thought you would be delivering for us.

“So far the government, not just because they’re incompetent but because it’s proving to be impossible, is not able to achieve these things.”

Labour’s current position, and therefore the only alternative to a Conservative Brexit ideal, is to ‘build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards and provide certainty to EU nationals’. Although they have softened their stance on remaining within the single market, it is not considered essential to Britain’s end of a Brexit deal.