Keir Starmer lashes out at PM for blaming everyone but himself for Brexit failures

PUBLISHED: 17:17 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:24 08 October 2019

Sir Keir Starmer lashed out at the government's EU negotiations. Picture: Parliament TV

Sir Keir Starmer lashed out at the government's EU negotiations. Picture: Parliament TV

Parliament TV

The shadow Brexit secretary lambasted Boris Johnson for giving the EU proposals that are "designed to fail" and then blaming everyone else.

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Sir Keir Starmer spoke in the House of Commons in response to a statement from Michael Gove about Brexit preparations accusing the government on being intent on "collapsing the negotiations".

He lashed out at the government's release of unofficial, unattributed statements to sow doubt about a deal when he said the basic unworkability of the proposals for Northern Ireland is to blame.

MORE: Boris Johnson's Brexit proposal is so ludicrous the EU asked if there was some mistake

"But instead of responsing to legitimate questions by the EU 27, or in this house, by actually answering questions, the government appears to be pulling the rug," said Sir Keir.

"Descending into a reckless blame game instead of putting the country first.

"'Sources close to Number 10 say' a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely.

"'Sources close to Number 10 say' it's essentially impossible.

"'Sources close to Number 10' start blaming other people.

"'It's parliament's fault, it's the opposition's fault. It's the Benn Act, it's Germany, it's Ireland.'

"Absolutely defining the character of this prime minister, a man who never takes responsibility for his own actions.

"The stark reality is the government put forward proposals that were designed to fail. And it still won't take responsibility for its own actions."

MORE: MPs call for anonymous Number 10 briefer to be sacked

He called on the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to respond to reports that the government was even threatening to withdraw security cooperation with the EU. 
"That's an astonishing statement," he said. "If true, it's beneath contempt."

He said today is not the day for Gove's "pre-prepared attacks and gags".

The last time the minister reassured the house with a "bedtime story" by saying the automotive and retail industries were ready for a no-deal Brexit, rebuttals from trade associations came "within hours", he said. "This is no longer a time for games."

Gove responded by pointing out that Starmer had three opportunities to vote for versions of Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement.

He said that Starmer had had "three full hours" to read the government's 156-page No-Deal Readiness Report and yet did not have any questions, responses or contributions to Brexit readiness.

He accused Starmer of focusing only on "politics rather than policy, about positioning rather than practicalities", and went on to defend the government's proposal to the EU.

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