Oliver Norgrove wrote in his blog that while many of the high-profile figures who were seen as the faces of the Brexit campaign backed leaving the EU single market, Vote Leave “didn’t advocate it”.
Norgrove wrote: “What is more concerning is the number of people who believe in an imaginary mandate to leave the single market, or rather to withdraw from the EEA Agreement. No such mandate exists.”
The discussion on departure from the single market has come to the fore after a slight u-turn from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn resulted in the party now backing staying in the market for a transitional period.
Some in the Labour party still plan to pressure their leadership to commit to retaining membership entirely, even as Brexit backers like Nigel Farage accused Mr Corbyn of a betrayal.
On his former ally Mr Farage, Norgrove wrote: “Brexiteers are often guilty of forgetting that an EU departure is for all of us. It isn’t something to be rubber stamped only by our approval and the democratic process, including scrutiny and critique, must continue.”
The SNP, reacting to the article, urged Labour to make permanent their opposition to leaving the single market after Brexit is triggered on March 31 2019.
SNP MSP Stuart McMillan commented: “The single market was never on the ballot paper, no matter what Nigel Farage and the hard right of the Tories say.
“Single market membership is absolutely consistent with the referendum result - while protecting our economy, jobs and household incomes from the extremes of a hard Brexit.
“If Labour are willing to back single market membership - not on a transitional basis but for the long-term - we can stop Theresa May’s hard Brexit in its tracks.”