Theresa May could be blocked by Labour from agreeing a no-deal Brexit

source
Sky News

  • Keir Starmer announces Labour will push for Parliament to decide what happens if MPs reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
  • Labour will attempt to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill to stop Britain leaving the EU with no deal if Parliament votes against the final deal.
  • Labour’s official policy is to reject any Brexit deal that doesn’t pass its 6 tests.
  • However, the party’s trade chief, Barry Gardiner, told an invite-only event last week that Labour could be forced to support a deal it doesn’t agree with, Business Insider exclusively reported.

LONDON – Theresa May could be blocked from taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal under a new Brexit amendment being pushed by the Labour party.

Speaking in Birmingham on Monday, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said Labour will seek to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill so that Parliament will be given the power to decide what happens next if May’s deal is voted down.

“If Parliament rejects the Prime Minister’s deal that cannot give licence to her – or the extreme Brexiteers in her party – to allow the UK to crash out without an agreement. That would be the worst of all possible worlds,” Starmer said.

“That is why in the coming days – and working with others in the Lords and the Commons – Labour will ensure that an amendment is tabled to the EU Withdrawal Bill to strengthen the terms of Parliament’s meaningful vote.

“Our amendment would make it clear that, should the Prime Minister’s deal be defeated, it must be for Parliament to say what happens next, not the Executive.”

He added: “A statutory provision requiring the Government to proceed on terms agreed by Parliament, not on the terms dictated by the Prime Minister.

“We will not dictate what Parliament should do in such circumstances. But Labour’s preference in that scenario is clear: the Government should go back to the negotiating table and work towards securing a deal that works for Britain.”

There is concern among opposition MPs that choosing to reject the withdrawal deal Prime Minister May brings back from Brussels will lead to Britain crashing out of the EU with no deal at all.

This scenario – described as “Brexit by blackmail” by anti-Brexit campaigners – would leave MPs and Lords with the de facto choice of choosing between the deal May has negotiated or no deal at all.

Labour’s official policy is to reject any Brexit deal that doesn’t pass the six tests Starmer unveiled last year.

More confusion over Labour’s Brexit policy

However, there was fresh confusion over Labour’s position on Monday morning, after Business Insider exclusively revealed that Barry Gardiner, Shadow Trade Secretary, said Labour could be forced to back a deal it doesn’t agree with.Barry Gardiner.

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Barry Gardiner.
source
REUTERS/Darren Staples

Speaking in Brussels last week, Gardiner said MPs and MEPs should “consider very carefully” before rejecting Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal, as it would result in Britain leaving the EU with no deal.

“The European Parliament should consider very carefully before voting against any agreement, even if it’s not the agreement you want,” the Labour MP told an invite-only event on Tuesday.

Labour’s call for greater powers for Parliament comes after Brexit minister Lord Callanan last week told the House of Lords that Britain would leave the EU with no deal if Parliament doesn’t approve May’s deal.

Outraged Labour peers said the policy amounted to “blackmail.”