Shadow minister mocks James Cleverly over claim 'oven-ready deal' was delivered

Rachel Reeves in the House of Commons

Rachel Reeves in the House of Commons - Credit: Parliament Live

Shadow chancellor of the Duchy Rachel Reeves has put down James Cleverly over his claim that the "oven-ready deal" promised at the last general election had been delivered.

Cleverly, appearing on BBC Breakfast earlier, said that Boris Johnson's comments only related to the Withdrawal Agreement and not a Brexit deal overall.

He said: "That 'oven-ready' that the prime minister was referring to was the Withdrawal Agreement...

"The prime minister was clear the reference to 'oven-ready' was to the Withdrawal Agreement, which as promised was delivered and vote through shortly after the election when he secured a majority less than a year ago.

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Reeves mocked the minister's comments as she spoke in the House of Commons.

She said: “Today the honourable member for Braintree (James Cleverly) claimed that the oven-ready deal had already been delivered.

“Well if that’s the case, it must have been sent to the wrong address because the whole country is waiting for the comprehensive trade and security deal that was promised to the British people at the general election less than a year ago.”

She continued: "And Mr Speaker, you'll remember that the former international trade secretary said that a trade deal with the EU would be "the easiest deal in history".

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"So let me finish by asking the minister is that still the view of the government?"

But Cabinet Office minister Penny Mordaunt dismissed the comments, saying she could not comment as she was not in the room for the negotiations. Instead she compared the wait to fathers waiting outside a hospital delivery room.

She said: “I can understand that we have so much invested in getting a good result for the all the reasons (she) sets out and it must be like what it would have been like for an expectant father outside the delivery room waiting for news, and I can understand the tension and the frustration that many members must be feeling at this critical moment.

“We are all waiting for, we hope, good news.”

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