Keir Starmer confirmed this afternoon that Labor MPs would vote in favor of the post-Brexit trade deal that the UK and the European Union agreed on this Christmas Eve.
The opposition leader made a statement at a Labor press conference saying: “Labor is against no agreement. Firm and absolute. And the British people would never forgive us if we allowed a no-deal outcome.
“There are some who argue that Labor should be neutral on this issue. Abstain. I do not agree. Leadership is about making difficult decisions in the national interest. It’s about being a serious, responsible opposition. “
He added: “At a moment of such national importance, it is not believable that Labor is on the sidelines. That is why I can say today that Labor will accept this agreement and vote for it when it comes to Parliament.
“But let me be absolutely clear – and say straight to the government – against no deal, we accept this deal, but the consequences of it are yours. And yours alone. We will hold you accountable for this. You’re in power every second. “
The Speaker of the House of Commons has asked the government to call Parliament on December 30th at 9:30 am to allow MPs to debate the legislation and implement the agreement with the EU in UK law.
“The choice is not a deal or this deal. We’ll certainly be better off with this deal, and we’re going to have to make it work. No deal would have dire consequences for our country and the Labor Party could not make it possible, ”Starmer said.
“We have to be successful, we have to make it work. It’s far better than no deal. He added that the agreement on services and equivalency provisions was “very, very thin” but reiterated that it was “in the national interest”.
Starmer told ITV: “A new Labor government in 2024 would inherit this deal. So we have to make this deal work. It’s what the public would expect from a new Labor government, it’s what you would expect.
“Of course we want to improve it. But we would have to keep this deal. It is really important that we are able to say that with this deal we are going into this election building. “
When asked what the benefits of Brexit are, Starmer replied: “We have left the EU… We now have a basis on which to build. That’s a very, very good thing. “He said there would be” relief “between the churches now that an agreement has been reached.
When asked whether it was “political cowardice” for Labor to support the deal, he said, “It is exactly the opposite. These are difficult and difficult choices. But in the end there is only one choice here, a binary choice.
“We either support the deal or we support the alternative that is not a deal. And we were always against no deal. That’s why we’re going to vote against this deal. I think a lot of people will see this as a difficult but necessary decision. “
Unite’s Len McCluskey, who urged the Labor leadership to support an agreed Brexit deal, noted that the deal is “definitely welcomed” but seen as “a foundation on which to build”.
Rachel Reeves, Labor Frontbencher, told a Labor Party meeting in November that a deal struck by that administration would be a platform to build and a vote would show that the party is listening to the electorate.
Backbench MPs like Hilary Benn, Liam Byrne, Harriet Harman, Sarah Owen, and Yvette Cooper supported these arguments. Others, including Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds, had more reservations.
It was reported that Shadow Cabinet members like Dodds, Emily Thornberry, Bridget Phillipson and David Lammy were in favor of Labor abstaining from the vote. But Starmer said Labor would unite for one position.
“We have pulled ourselves together incredibly through difficult decisions in the last few months,” he said earlier this month. “Of course there are different opinions as you would expect, but we will pull ourselves together, discuss it as a team and be united.”
Below is the full text of Keir Starmer’s statement.
As leader of the Labor Party, I have asked the government to continue negotiating the promised Brexit deal. I wanted the talks to be successful. I did this because a deal is in the national interest.
Businesses need a deal. Workers need a deal. Families need a deal. The fact that the government was considering no deal at all – during a global pandemic – was grossly irresponsible.
After months of negotiations, a deal has now been agreed. The choice of Parliament – the choice of the Labor Party – is now whether this deal is accepted or rejected.
The deal is a thin agreement. It does not provide adequate protection for UK manufacturing. Our financial services. Creative industries. Or rights in the workplace.
It’s not the deal the government promised. Far from it. And there are serious questions about the government’s readiness for the new regulations.
Leaving everything until the last minute made it even more difficult for companies to be ready. A better deal could have been negotiated. But I accept that option is now gone. The chance for renegotiations is over.
There are only two ways left for our country. Push a deal forward. Or without one. No deal is just not an option. The social, economic and political consequences would be devastating.
Jobs would be at risk. Companies would collapse. The investment would dry up. Our national security would be threatened.
The disruption we’ve seen in Dover harbor in the past few days would be the tip of the iceberg. And the cumulative effect – on top of the worst recession in any major economy – would be inconceivable.
Work is against a deal. Firm and absolute. And the British people would never forgive us if we allowed a no-deal outcome.
There are some who argue that Labor should be neutral on this issue. Abstain. I do not agree.
Leadership is about making difficult decisions in the national interest. It’s about being a serious, responsible opposition. A waiting government.
This is the deal Labor will inherit in 2024. We’ll build on that compared to the no-deal chaos. The public would expect a labor government to make it work.
And the EU would expect us to do it. And to protect our common interests. Including the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
At a moment of such national importance, it is not credible that Labor is on the sidelines. That is why I can say today that Labor will accept it and vote for it if this agreement comes before Parliament.
But let me be absolutely clear – and say straight to the government – against no deal, we accept that deal, but the consequences of it are yours. And yours alone.
We will hold you accountable for this. You’re in power every second. For the promises you made. And the promises you break
You can no longer blame someone else. Responsibility for this deal lies right outside number 10’s door.
I want to address the British people directly. I know how tired you are from Brexit. The endless negotiations. And political arguments.
You want to go on. You want Westminster politicians to talk about the things that are important to you and your family.
Securing our economy. Protecting our NHS. And rebuild our country. These are my priorities. We are a great country. We did extraordinary things.
Our NHS is the envy of the world. British scientists were among the first to discover a coronavirus vaccine.
I want to become prime minister because I believe that our country can have a better future. That we can be even bigger than today. That we can achieve so much more.
That we can be proud on the world stage. And that we can make Britain the best place to grow up and the best place to grow old.
That’s the change I believe in. This is the change I want. And with Labor under new leadership, this is the change we are offering. Many Thanks.