Posted: 19 September, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Brexit update

The government’s ‘Yellowhammer’ report last week showed in stark terms what a ‘no deal’ Brexit would look like – food price hikes, medicine shortages, business closures and chaos crossing the Channel. It also said plans for having no checks on the Northern Ireland border would ‘prove unsustainable’.

That is the government’s preferred Brexit plan. Boris Johnson is not seriously trying to get a better deal with the EU – not even the PM’s own brother believes that.

They’re doing this because the Conservatives have been taken over and turned into an ‘extreme right-wing faction’. These aren’t my words but Philip Hammond’s, Tory Chancellor until two months ago.

Yellowhammer also proved beyond doubt that Labour was right to lead the all-party majority in Parliament to put a legislative lock on Boris Johnson crashing Britain out with ‘no deal’. This isn’t about trying to block Brexit or reverse the 2016 referendum result – it’s about stopping a damaging no deal Brexit which we’ve always been clear we oppose, and said so in our 2017 Election manifesto. There’s no majority in this country for no deal and the government has no mandate for it.

No deal would harm jobs, living standards, our NHS and security and put peace in Northern Ireland at risk.

It wouldn’t solve Brexit. We’d be back at square one, still needing to agree a deal with our biggest trading partner but negotiating from a much weaker position.

Sometimes I hear from people that ‘no deal’ is the equivalent of walking away from an everyday negotiation like a house price sale if you don’t like the terms being offered. This report shows again just how wrong that view is. No deal doesn’t keep the status quo, it means ripping up the cross-border agreements that preserve the status quo on areas like crime, travel and trade from November 1st, with huge, damaging consequences for our country.

The country needs a way out of this deadlock and Labour is the only party with a plan to put an end to these three years of Brexit chaos. It would mean we could finally move on from Brexit to start fixing the deep-seated problems and injustices people face-day-to-day after ten years of Tory failure from the NHS to social care to foodbanks to decent wages and the housing crisis.

Step 1 – take ‘no deal’ Brexit off the table; which we’ve done.

Step 2 – in Government, strike a better Brexit deal, which we know is there to be done given the EU chief negotiator has already said the EU would “respond favourably” if the UK shifts to the sort of deal Labour have proposed.

Step 3 – put that deal to the people for their final say: leaving the EU with a credible properly negotiated deal vs remain and both protecting jobs.

That’s a route out of this mess which means the final say-so properly rests with the people and means Labour is the one party that won’t simply dismiss those who voted leave or remain.

Britain needs a General Election in order to sweep away this failed Tory Government. We want a General Election and, once we know Boris Johnson will abide by the law to prevent him crashing Britain out with ‘no deal’, we’ll throw our weight behind getting one.


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