The Brexit transition period will not be extended, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer as he told businesses that it is now down to Boris Johnson to deliver on his promise.
Sir Keir struck a strongly more pro-business tone than his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn as he spoke at the CBI conference.
Sir Keir, who backed Remain in the referendum, said: “There is no prospect of an extension.
“There was never going to be a vote in parliament on it.
“There was no way of it being forced and that is why I say to the prime minister, ‘You promised a deal, get on with it’.
“The outstanding issues are capable of being resolved. They need to be resolved in the national interest.
“The prime minister went to the country last December with one central commitment and that was that he had got a Brexit deal already – oven ready – and now he needs to deliver on it because the impact on businesses, communities and the whole country will be profound if he fails to make good on that commitment.”
The UK is set to leave the Brexit transition period on December 31, but talks on a future trade agreement have proved highly problematic.
Sir Keir said that Labour wanted to work with business.
He said: “A Labour government led by me will be pro-business. Working with businesses and recognising businesses for what they are.”
Sir Keir said that Covid called for a “rethink” about the economy and said he would do that with business.
Asked about nationalisation, Sir Keir said: “If you look at rail, there are real problems with the franchises that have been running in the last few years.
“We are now in a changed situation and the vast majority of the public want to see rail in some sort of common ownership and I support that.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s a one size fits all, but I do think there are clear examples of where – criminal justice would be one of them – where simply privatising has not worked.”