Benn: Brexiteers’ arguments have now been shown to be fantasies

Hilary Benn on BBC's Politics Live (Photograph: BBC)

Hilary Benn on BBC's Politics Live (Photograph: BBC) - Credit: Archant

The chair of the Brexit select committee has said that the more the Brexiteers shout about the government's approach to Brexit the more it becomes clear their arguments have been full of fantasy.

Hilary Benn MP was being interviewed on BBC Politics Live when he made the claims about the Brexiteers' lack of plan - and also issued a warning to Theresa May over her government's approach which he said lacked honesty.

He said: 'The Brexiteers' arguments have now been shown, after 2 and a half years, to be fantasies. And the more they shout the more they cry in realisation they have not got a plan.'

The select committee chair also said the government had lacked honesty over their approach to Brexit in adopting a cakeism approach.

He explained: 'I agree with Grant [Shapps] I don't think the prime minister has been honest with the British people about the choices we have to make.

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'If we want to maintain friction-free trade, if we want to keep an open border in Northern Ireland, if we want to minimise economic damage then we must keep a close relationship with the EU.'

'The idea that you can get all of the benefits that would give you, wandering somewhere down the middle, when the EU has said that 'I'm afraid your Chequers proposals are not acceptable'. And the prime minister has said herself of Canada, the only other option on the table, it doesn't give us friction-free trade or an open border in Northern Ireland.

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'We have to choose and for two and a half years the government has failed to choose and to tell the public they need to choose.

Although Benn believed stopping Brexit at present was 'unlikely' he believed that if Parliament becomes stuck the most likely outcome would be a People's Vote.

Commenting on the apparent difference in views between the shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn, Benn said that the motion at Labour Party conference was very clear on their Brexit position.

He said: 'If the deal comes back like we think it is going to get then the Labour Party is likely to vote against it because it fails our six tests. Then the question is will there be an election, and that's up to Conservative MPs because they would have to vote for one and they may not choose to do so, if not then there is a possibility there will be a second referendum.'

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