Keir Starmer says Labour WILL back Brexit deal with EU in parliament
Can Boris get this Brexit deal through Parliament? Boost as Keir Starmer says Labour WILL back agreement when it comes to a vote on 30 December
- Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen announced Brexit trade deal today
- Sir Keir Starmer said it was not ‘credible for Labour to be on the sidelines’ and party would support it
- Parliament will be given the chance to vote on the deal on December 30
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his party will back the government’s Brexit trade deal when it comes to a vote in Parliament.
The fervent pro-European said it was ‘in the national interest’ to support the agreement despite concerns over the terms negotiated by the Government.
Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a deal being reached with the EU, Sir Keir said: ‘It is not the deal that the Government promised – far from it.’
‘A better deal could have been negotiated. But I accept that option has now gone.’
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has announced he will back the government’s Brexit trade deal when it comes to a vote in Parliament
Sir Keir said: ‘At a moment of such national significance, it is just not credible for Labour to be on the sidelines.
‘That is why I can say today that when this deal comes before Parliament, Labour will accept it and vote for it.
‘But let me be absolutely clear – and say directly to the Government – up against no deal, we accept this deal, but the consequences of it are yours.’
He said no deal would lead to ‘devastating’ social, economic and political consequences, and said it was not right for Labour to abstain.
Boris Johnson (pictured speaking to Ursula von der Leyen by video link today) said the UK could now take advantages of the benefits of Brexit
Parliament will be given the chance to vote on the deal on December 30.
Sir Keir denied the suggestion the decision to vote for the deal was in response to appease of large swathes of Brexit-supporting Labour voters at the last general election.
He said: ‘These are difficult and tough decisions. But in the end there is only one choice – a binary choice here.
‘Either we support the deal or we support the alternative, which is no deal.
‘We have always been against no deal and that is why we will vote for this deal.
‘I think many people will see this as a tough but necessary decision on behalf of the Labour Party, the Labour movement and on behalf of our country.’
Labour has already indicated it will not block any agreement – meaning it is effectively guaranteed to pass through Parliament.
Sir Keir has previously stressed that an agreement with the EU would be in the national interest, but had not confirmed he would whip MPs to vote for it.
Since his election to the leadership in April, he has been to head off a new party split between pro-Remain members who had supported a second referendum and a smaller Brexiteer contingent.
It is reported that the party will take the stance of arguing any EU-UK trade deal will present Britain with the opportunity to work with Brussels to implement higher regulatory standards on workers rights and the environment.
There are hopes this position will help to win back Eurosceptic voters in ‘red wall’ seats in northern England lost to the Conservatives in last year’s general election.
What happens next?
After a Brexit deal text was finalised, the next step is ratification by both sides – and there is not much time before the end of the transition period on January 1.
Brussels will short-cut its own processes, with the EU Council of member states expected to grant ‘provisional’ implementation before the deadline, rather than the European Parliament approving it in advance.
This has angered many MEPs, as they will be under massive pressure to sign off the deal if it has already come into effect.
MPs will need to pass legislation putting the deal on the statute book
With Christmas Day tomorrow, this is likely to happen next week. The Commons will be recalled from its festive break and potentially consider all the stages of a Bill in one day.
The package is virtually guaranteed to be approved, as Boris Johnson has an 80-strong majority and Labour has indicated it will at least abstain – if not support the deal.
The new trade terms – or WTO terms if something has gone wrong with the deal – come into effect.
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