Friday 20 November 2020 / 10:30 PM Rachel Reeves

Labour demands Prime Minister take responsibility UK-EU trade negotiations at crucial crunch point

Labour demands Prime Minister take responsibility UK-EU trade negotiations at crucial crunch point

“Labour has today written to the Prime Minister urging him to take personal responsibility for the final days of negotiations and deliver a trade deal with the EU.

“Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves wrote the letter, calling on Boris Johnson to take swift action to “connect more with the ongoing negotiations to avoid the disaster that would be a no deal.”

“Reeves said despite leaving the EU in January, “with just a handful of days left till the end of the transition period on 31st December…the prospect of not having finalised a trade deal between the UK and EU is of growing and deep concern.”

“Highlighting the impact no deal would have on the Good Friday Agreement, as well as farming and automotive industries, the letter outlines how “this is a matter of competence and leadership. This ongoing uncertainty, coupled with the immense stress created by the pandemic, is holding back the economy, investment and British business.”

“Noting that the Prime Minister is currently self-isolating, Reeves says that “thanks to the power of Zoom, this needn’t mean our country is isolated out of this deal.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

Full text of letter from Rachel Reeves to Boris Johnson:

Dear Prime Minister,

 

I hope this letter finds you well in self-isolation.

 

We left the European Union in January, but with just a handful of days left till the end of the transition period on 31st December, we are entering a critical stage for the future of our country. The prospect of not having finalised a trade deal between the UK and EU is of growing and deep concern.

 

No deal would be a disaster for our country, its industries and consumers. A year after that “oven-ready” deal was first promised, ending the transition period without a deal would represent a damning failure of ambition and diplomacy.

 

The Government’s nonchalance on this issue – with Conservative Ministers even admitting they have not even modelled the impact of no trade agreement on UK industry – is staggering. Some of Britain’s finest industries, from farming to automotive to our music industry, are relying on securing a deal to ensure that our country will prosper outside the EU.

 

Labour has consistently highlighted how no-deal would be a disaster for our country, putting jobs and businesses at unnecessary risk in a time of huge economic uncertainty, and caging Britain’s potential as an independent trading nation.

 

The risk of failing to conclude a trade agreement also poses risks to the Union. The possibility of no trade agreement destabilising the Good Friday Agreement is an important reminder of how vital success in these negotiations is.

 

As was promised last year, our country expects the Government to secure a deal with the EU. Whether or not this is “oven-ready” pales into comparison next to the possibility of securing no deal with the EU.

 

Today I am writing to you as Prime Minister to urge you to take personal responsibility for the final days of negotiations, to deliver a trade deal with the EU and get this issue done. This is a matter of competence and leadership. This ongoing uncertainty, coupled with the immense stress created by the pandemic, is holding back the economy, investment and British business.

 

I also write to you with two urgent questions:

 

What work have you done as Prime Minister this week to engage with and further negotiations on securing a trade deal with European Union, ahead of the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020? What meetings have you held which address this pressing concern directly?

 

Will yourself or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster update MPs in the House of Commons on Monday about your plans to secure a deal in the coming days and weeks?

 

I urge you to do more to connect with the ongoing negotiations to avoid the disaster that would be a no deal. I appreciate that you are self-isolating from home, but thanks to the power of Zoom, this needn’t mean our country is isolated out of this deal.

 

I look forward to your response.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Rachel Reeves MP

 

Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office