Belfast Telegraph

Brexit: Labour 'opens door' to working with DUP after party supports Letwin amendment

(House of Commons/PA)
(House of Commons/PA)

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has said the Labour Party's "door is open" to the DUP following their opposition to Boris Johnson's Brexit deal.

Sir Keir Starmer, appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, said his party would be willing to work with the DUP.

"I would openly invite the DUP to talk to us because anybody who wants to improve on the situation like they do should be working together, so I say to any MP, any party, the DUP in particular, if you want to work with us on this to improve the situation we are in, our door is open to that discussion," he said.

The DUP's 10 MPs voted for the Letwin amendment on Saturday to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek an extension to Brexit. 

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said his party's MPs supported the amendment as it was the only avenue available to properly scrutinise the deal on offer and attempt to secure changes.

"It was a situation that could have been easily avoided had the Prime Minister kept to words he penned to Jean-Claude Juncker just a matter of two weeks ago," he said.

"The DUP does not seek a second referendum; merely implementation of the first. The people of the United Kingdom were asked whether the UK should leave the EU, not whether Great Britain should leave Northern Ireland behind.

"We want to leave as one nation. That remains our goal. If the Prime Minister remains willing to achieve that outcome he will find DUP MPs as willing partners in that project."

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DUP MPs Nigel Dodds, Gregory Campbell, and Sammy Wilson listen as Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement in the House of Commons

After suffering an embarrassing defeat in the Commons over his Brexit plans, the Prime Minister got a senior diplomat to send Brussels an unsigned photocopy of the call by MPs to delay withdrawal from the bloc, with a cover note stressing his detachment from the move.

In a second note to European Council president Donald Tusk, the PM said a Brexit extension would be “deeply corrosive”.

Mr Starmer said the Prime Minister has taken a "silly approach" and is "being childlike".

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "The law is very clear.

"He should have signed one letter in accordance with the law.

"If we crash out because of what he has done with the letters [...] without a deal,  he bears personal responsibility for that."

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