'Beware of a blind Brexit,' warns Sir Keir
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 November 2018
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Sir Keir Starmer will use a top-level, Brussels meeting to warn of the looming danger of a "blind Brexit".
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary will raise his concerns that the UK and European Union will end up striking a loose deal on future relations.
He believes Tory divisions have stalled progress on trade links and will mean years of further negotiations.
Theresa May has told the cabinet that any exit agreement will be dependent on an “acceptable” framework for future relations in areas like trade and security, which will be covered in a separate political declaration.
Sir Keir said the agreement must provide detailed answers on future trade, customs, immigration, security, research and collaboration and repeated warnings that Labour would vote against “anything less”.
He is meeting European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, Markus Winkler, deputy secretary general of the EU Parliament, and Roberto Gualtieri, who sits on the parliament’s Brexit Steering Group.
Sir Keir said: “This is crunch time in the Brexit negotiations. Yet government divisions and delays mean that little time has been spent debating what our future trading and security relationship will be after Brexit.
“Months of deadlock in Theresa May’s government mean we’re facing continued uncertainty and the prospect of years of further negotiations over our future relationship with the EU.
“A blind Brexit could prolong business uncertainty and provide insufficient guarantees to protect jobs, the economy and rights. Whether you voted leave or remain, nobody voted for the purgatory of permanent negotiations.
“Theresa May and Dominic Raab promised that the Brexit deal put before Parliament will be ‘detailed, precise and substantive’.
“That is exactly what Labour expects and what I will be discussing in Brussels. If the final deal is anything less than the government has promised, Labour will not support it.”