- Jack Taylor/Getty
- Two years on from the EU referendum, Labour says Theresa May’s handling of Brexit is stopping Britain getting a good deal.
- Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesperson, says the PM’s “rash, reckless and ideological” red lines of leaving the single market, customs union and ECJ risk destroying British jobs.
- “The next six months cannot be like the last two years. The Government must end the deadlock in the negotiations and deliver a deal that puts jobs and the economy first,” Starmer said on Saturday.
- May will travel to Brussels next week for the European Council summit, where Brexit will be on the agenda.
LONDON – The Labour Party has accused Theresa May of “letting the country down” in Brexit negotiations on the day that marks two years since Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union.
Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, said on Saturday that the prime minister’s “rash, reckless and ideological red lines” have stunted Brexit negotiations and put British jobs and industries at risk.
“Two years on from the referendum, Theresa May is letting the country down and failing to negotiate the Brexit deal Britain needs,” Starmer, the MP for Holborn and St Pancras, said on Saturday.
“The Government’s rash, reckless and ideological red lines have held back the negotiations at every turn and are putting jobs and the economy at risk. Instead of negotiating for Britain, the Cabinet is still negotiating with itself.
“The next six months cannot be like the last two years. The Government must end the deadlock in the negotiations and deliver a deal that puts jobs and the economy first.”
The red lines Starmer refers to are the UK government’s plans to leave the single market, customs union and European Court of Justice, meaning Britain can sign its own trade deals and end the free, inward movement of EU citizens.
However, these commitments have created sticking points in negotiations, chiefly the question of how Britain can preserve its frictionless border with the Republic of Ireland while outside the single market and customs union.
With just a few months to go until both sides must find a deal, talks are at an impasse over the Irish border question. The EU has this week urged member states to prepare for the possibility of a no deal Brexit.
It’s not just in Brussels where May’s government is struggling to make progress.
Back in Westminster, the government’s highly-anticipated white paper outlining its Brexit plan is yet to be published, as are key pieces of legislation on post-Brexit immigration, agriculture and fisheries.
Labour – which is planning to publish a counter-white paper detailing its own Brexit policy next month – has warned that time is running out to deliver an orderly Brexit, with 40% of Brexit bills yet to be introduced by ministers.
May will travel to Brussels next week to meet with EU leaders for the latest European Council summit. Brexit negotiations are set to be on the agenda, along with other issues facing the bloc, such as migration.
Starmer is also set to travel to Belgium, where he will meet representatives from other left-wing European parties.