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Labour set to vote towards Brexit deal, open to second referendum

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party is ready to vote towards any deal Prime Minister Theresa May clinches with the European Union and is open to a second referendum with the choice of staying within the bloc, Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer mentioned on Tuesday.

The Labour Party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer walks to a radio interview at his celebration’s conference in Liverpool, Britain, September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

With simply over six months till Britain leaves the EU, May has but to succeed in a deal on the phrases of the divorce, and her plan for future commerce ties has been rebuffed by each the EU and plenty of lawmakers in her personal Conservative Party.

Labour has listed six assessments it might apply to any Brexit deal, together with whether or not it ensured a powerful future relationship with the EU and delivered the identical advantages Britain has as a member of its single market and customs union.

Starmer mentioned May was on the right track to fail these assessments.

He known as for an election to permit a Labour government to steer Britain’s departure from the EU, the largest shift within the nation’s overseas and commerce coverage in a long time.

“If Theresa May brings back a deal that does not meet our tests – and that looks increasingly likely – Labour will vote against her deal,” he instructed Labour members on the celebration’s conference within the northern metropolis of Liverpool.

He repeated Labour’s argument that if parliament rejected May’s Chequers deal, named after the prime minister’s nation residence the place she hashed out a plan along with her ministers, the celebration would press for a common election.

“But if we need to break the impasse our options must include campaigning for a public vote and nobody is ruling out remain as an option,” he mentioned to a standing ovation and extended applause in a packed conference corridor.

The Conservative Party’s chairman, Brandon Lewis, accused Labour of breaking “their promises” and taking “us back to square one on Brexit”.

Britain’s shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Keir Starmer delivers his keynote handle on the annual Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Britain, September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The EU indicated officers in Brussels noticed a brand new referendum as a complication somewhat than an answer.

“That does not sound like a solution to anything. The first referendum is still keeping us busy. And will they want to have a third one in another two years?” requested a senior EU diplomat in Brussels. “It’s more about power struggles in Britain than about managing Brexit seriously.”

But with May’s plan for sustaining shut ties with the EU for commerce in items going through opposition from her personal lawmakers, Labour might play a decisive function in whether or not any Brexit deal is accepted by parliament.

May has a working majority of simply 13 within the 650-seat parliament and a former junior minister mentioned this month as many as 80 of her personal lawmakers had been ready to vote towards a Brexit deal based mostly on the Chequers plan.

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BETRAYAL

But just like the governing Conservatives and far of the nation, Labour is break up over methods to go away the bloc, with its veteran eurosceptic chief, Jeremy Corbyn, beneath stress from many members to maneuver to a extra pro-EU place. [L8N1WA260]

Brendan Chilton, common secretary of Brexit campaigning group Labour Leave, accused Starmer of launching a management bid and of attempting to undermine Corbyn.

“This is a betrayal of the very highest order. It is a betrayal not only of the millions of Labour voters, but of our 2017 manifesto,” he mentioned, referring to the celebration’s marketing campaign eventually yr’s election that gained Labour extra votes than many anticipated.

Labour’s conference will vote in a while Tuesday on retaining a second Brexit referendum as an possibility if May fails to get her Brexit plan by parliament.

In the printed movement which the Labour conference will debate in a while Tuesday, the celebration once more set out is place on Brexit – it needs full participation within the EU’s single market after Brexit and can reject a “no deal Brexit”.

The wording on a attainable second referendum was left imprecise, opening the way in which for some to explain it as a fudge when the celebration’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, mentioned any such vote ought to be on methods to go away the EU, not whether or not to take action.

But Starmer was clear. He understood that the movement might permit Britain to vote to remain within the EU.

“This isn’t about frustrating the process,” he mentioned. “It’s about stopping a destructive Tory Brexit. It’s about fighting for our values and about fighting for our country.”

Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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