Sir Keir Starmer has said that Labour will act “in the national interest” on any deal that Boris Johnson brings back from the EU.
The Labour leader urged the prime minister to deliver the deal he promised, claimed his “incompetence has held Britain back” and pleaded for “this charade” to end and “allow the country to move on”.
Johnson used PMQs to try and tease out how Starmer would vote on any agreement between the UK and EU on the future relationship beyond the end of the transition period on December 31.
He accused the leader of the opposition of “silence” on the matter, but Starmer refused to be drawn into the debate, claiming there was no deal to vote on.
Starmer said: “The prime minister asked me how I’ll vote on a deal that he hasn’t even secured – secure the deal prime minister, you promised it.
“I’ll say this: if there is a deal, and I hope there’s a deal, then my party will vote in the national interest – not on party political lines, as he is doing.”
His spokesman later made clear to reporters that the leader firmly believes that no-deal would be “catastrophic” and definitely not in the national interest.
The spokesman said he cannot confirm how MPs will act without knowledge of the terms of the vote, but added: “Keir has been clear that the national interest is to get a deal and that’s what we expect the government to deliver.“No-deal would be absolutely catastrophic and would be catastrophic for people’s jobs and for businesses, and as we go through the worst recession in 3-400 years, the idea that any government in good conscience could think no-deal is a good idea is for the birds – and no-deal is not in the national interest.”