The UK is no longer in the EU, but Brexit is far from ‘done’. Although the Government have symbolically wound up the Department for Exiting the EU, Labour have retained our shadow ministerial team. We’ll hold the Government to account on the crucial negotiations on our future relationship with the EU over the months ahead.
Today I responded, on behalf of the opposition, to the Foreign Secretary’s statement in Parliament on the Government’s approach to the negotiations, following speeches earlier in the day from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Michel Barnier, the EU chief negotiator.
I made clear that, although we left the EU on 31st January, the next stage will be even more difficult as we negotiate with the EU on our future trade relationship, law enforcement and security, foreign affairs and participation in EU programmes and agencies.
I called on the Government to conduct these negotiations in an open and accountable way, not by banning journalists from mainstream media from their political briefings, as apparently happened earlier in the afternoon, and by publishing all negotiating texts and reporting to Parliament on each round of negotiations.
I pointed out that we now face a choice. Will our relationship with the EU be determined by the economic interests of our country or the ideological commitment to break with the European social model that drove the Brexit enthusiasts – with their zeal for a damaging deal with Donald Trump limiting our options with the EU. Today’s statement suggests that ideology has trumped economics.
You can read my speech here or watch a summary of it below: