Monday 24 June 2019 / 2:52 PM Brexit / Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn EU Council response


Responding to the Prime Minister’s EU Council Statement, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of this statement.

Last week we came within minutes of the USA launching a military attack on Iran.

Britain and other European nations must play a role in defusing not raising tensions, and it needs to start with the restoration of support for the Iran nuclear deal.

We note there will be continuing EU-Morocco trade discussions. I hope the UK Government will recognise that there is an ongoing territorial dispute over Western Sahara and raise those issues.

I would also like to echo the EU call for Turkey to cease its illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

Can I also welcome the EU Council’s discussion of climate change, which emphasises how important it is to continue to work with progressive forces on tackling the climate emergency.

I welcome the EU’s continued commitment to the Paris climate agreement and to deliver a practical plan of action to meet those obligations.

Mr Speaker, yesterday marked three years since the EU referendum. Three wasted years in which the Government’s deal has been rejected three times; we’ve endured three separate Brexit secretaries; and we’ll soon have our third post-Brexit Prime Minister. Three years of chaos, in-fighting and incompetence.

For too long the Prime Minister allowed herself to be held to ransom by the wilder extremes in her party rather than trying to find a sensible majority across this House.

By the time the Prime Minister did reach out it was too late – she was not able to deliver meaningful compromise or change.

So, does the Prime Minister now regret that instead of warning of its disastrous implications she continued to legitimise the idea of no deal?

The two Tory leadership candidates are still saying that if they can’t renegotiate the backstop – which the EU leaders said was not possible last week – then they would pursue a no deal exit.

Will the Prime Minister tell us, whether she believes ‘no deal’ should be on the table as a viable option?

And, in her view, what would be worse: crashing out with no deal in October, or putting this issue back to the people for a final say?

Given the shambolic no deal preparations so far, which were paused in the Spring, can the Prime Minister confirm that the Government would not be ready to crash out in October?

Neither of the Tory leadership candidates have a credible plan. One even claims we can crash out on WTO terms and still trade without tariffs.

The Governor of the Bank of England was clear when he said: “Not having an agreement with the EU means that there are tariffs because the Europeans would have to apply the same rules to us as they apply to everyone else.”

Could the Prime Minister confirm the Bank of England Governor is correct on no deal?

The former Foreign Secretary also told us that under his no deal plan he could, and I quote: “solve the problem of free movement of goods in the context of the Free Trade Agreement … that we’ll negotiate in the implementation period.”

Mr Speaker, can the Prime Minister confirm that if there is no deal there will NOT be an implementation period?

It is deeply worrying that those who seek to lead this country have no grip on reality.

The Prime Minister said the Council reiterated its wish to avoid a “disorderly Brexit”. I’m not sure they will have been reassured by the statements of her potential successors.

Labour put forward a plan that could bring this country back together, but the Prime Minister refused to compromise.

Whoever the next Prime Minister is, they will barely hold the support of this House, so they certainly have no mandate to force a disastrous hard-right Brexit on this country.

And I make it clear that Labour will work across the House to block no deal.

But whatever Brexit plan the new Tory leader comes up with, after three long years of failure they should have the confidence to go back to the people on a deal agreed by Parliament.