Labour 'will fight for a soft Brexit' says Keir Starmer

Labour’s Brexit spokesman today said the party would fight for soft-Brexit that gives British businesses easy access to trade.

Sir Keir Starmer said Labour has a clear plan for the country after it quits the EU, while the Government “veers” between the “undefined” and “vague”.

He used his speech at Bloomberg LP’s European headquarters in Central London today to say the party would fight any strategy that “tears us apart from our EU partners”.

He said: “Put simply, Labour will push for a Brexit model which maintains and protects our ability to successfully trade goods and deliver services with and to the EU.”

Labour’s model seeks to ensure continued tarriff-free trade for UK businesses in the EU, promote competitiveness of UK services and manufacturing sector and maintain EU standard workers rights. 

He said: “[The Government] has veered between a hard, extreme Brexit and some other undefined, vaguer form of Brexit.”

He reiterated that Theresa May will face a Commons battle if she tries to force hard Brexit on the UK.

If the Supreme Court upholds the ruling that MPs must be given a say before the Prime Minister can formally start the Brexit process, Labour will seek to amend the legislation unless they see a “meaningful plan” delivered by Mrs May, he said.

And any proposal put forward that would ditch the customs union and access to the single market and revert to World Trade Organisation would result in strong opposition from the party, he added.

Yesterday Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s suggested the Government is considering a transitional relationship with the EU after the end of the two year negotiation period. 

Ex-Tory business minister Anna Soubry, who wants the Government to take its Brexit proposals back to Parliament, said the idea “makes a great deal of sense.”

However in an attempt to reassure Brexiters that transitional plans will not water down the clear referendum result, she added: “We will get there. It just would be the dreadful idea of dropping off a cliff dge – that’s the alternative.”

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