Up to 60 Labour MPs ready to back Brexit, says senior backbencher

PUBLISHED: 13:34 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:04 06 February 2019

Lisa Nandy, Labour MP. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

Lisa Nandy, Labour MP. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

Labour's Lisa Nandy has said up to 60 MPs on the opposition benches could be prepared to back Theresa May's Brexit deal to avoid a no-deal scenario.

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The Wigan MP stressed that the prime minister would need to move on her red lines, and spoke of the importance of remaining in a permanent customs union with Brussels - something ruled out by the prime minister - as one of her priorities for any Brexit deal.

The former shadow cabinet member told BBC Radio 5 Live: “If she were able to come back, and stop this eternal circular conversation within the Tory party, and start reaching out to the rest of parliament and the rest of the country and give us those assurances, I think you’d get somewhere between 40 and 60 Labour Members of Parliament who would be prepared to step forward and say, we’ve got to come together around this, otherwise we leave with no deal.”

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She said May would have to provide “binding assurances” on what she was seeking to negotiate with the EU, with a vote in parliament on the final deal.

Nandy also acknowledged that Labour’s own Brexit tests would not be met in any deal with Brussels - and the party may have to drop its hopes of ending free movement.

“The six key tests commit us to the exact same benefits as being in the single market, to being in a permanent UK-wide customs union with the European Union, and ending free movement.

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“Now it is very clear, in discussions with the European Union, that you cannot do all of those things. So we are going to have to choose.

“My own view is that access to the single market and remaining in a permanent customs union is the only thing that will protect the huge number of food manufacturing jobs in my constituency, and the service industry as well, which employs many people in my town and across the country.

“So ending free movement is where we are going to have to budge.”

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