MPs must decide what happens next if Parliament rejects Brexit deal – Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer will say that if Theresa May’s Brexit agreement is rejected it should not automatically result in a ‘no deal’ departure from the EU.
Labour will try to rewrite the Government’s Brexit legislation to prevent the UK leaving the European Union without a deal if Parliament rejects any agreement Theresa May strikes with Brussels.
The Opposition hopes to build a coalition of peers and MPs to reject the “take it or leave it” approach on offer from ministers which would see a vote against the final agreement interpreted as a decision to back a “no deal” Brexit.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer will say Labour’s approach will “bring back control” over Brexit to Parliament.
In a speech in Birmingham as the countdown to Brexit approaches the one-year mark, Sir Keir will say: “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.
“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.
should the Prime Minister’s deal be defeated, it must be for Parliament to say what happens next, not the executive.”
Should the Prime Minister’s deal be defeated, it must be for Parliament to say what happens next, not the executive Sir Keir Starmer
“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.”
The measure will be considered as part of the debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill going through Parliament.
Under the plan, if Parliament rejects the deal, MPs would vote on a Commons motion instructing the Government what to do next.
Labour’s position on Brexit has come under scrutiny following Owen Smith’s dismissal from the shadow cabinet after calling for a second referendum.
The party has not definitively ruled out calling for a second public vote – although deputy leader Tom Watson said it was “highly unlikely” that Labour would call for another referendum.
Sir Keir will say that Labour would not dictate what Parliament should instruct if the Government’s Brexit deal is rejected.
However, he will say: “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.”
“This would provide a safety valve in the Brexit process to safeguard jobs and the economy.
“It would remove the possibility of a no vote leading to a no deal.
“It would bring back control to Parliament.”
Sir Keir will say Labour’s approach to Brexit “will always put jobs and the economy first”.
“There is no clearer demonstration of that than our commitment to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU Customs Union and a strong new relationship with the single market that retains the benefits,” he will say.