LABOUR shadow secretary for Brexit Keir Starmer, for the first time in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon, urged the Brexit Secretary and the government to cancel the date for leaving the EU.
He said: ‘Will the Secretary of State now drop the proposal for a fixed deadline exit date for the 29th of March 2019.’ Starmer continued: ‘If ever there was an example of why that would be absurd, yesterday was it.’
He said: ‘What an embarrassment. The last 24 hours have given new meaning to the phrase coalition of chaos. Yesterday morning Number 10 was briefing that a deal would be signed.
‘There was high expectation that the Prime Minister would make a triumphant statement to the House.
‘By tea time we had a 49 second press conference saying that the deal was off. It is one thing, Mr Speaker to go to Brussels and fall out with those on the other side of the negotiating table, it is quite another to go to Brussels and fall out with those who supposedly are on your own side of the negotiating table.’
Starmer continued: ‘Labour is clear that there needs to be a nationwide response to Brexit, so the question for the government today is this: Will the Prime Minister now rethink her reckless red lines and put options such as the customs union and the single market back on the table?’
Tory Brexit secretary David Davis said: ‘85% of members of this House were elected on manifestos which said that they would respect the result of the Brexit referendum.’ John Baron Tory MP for Basildon and Billericay said: ‘The Secretary of State is absolutely right to remind the House that the only way of respecting the result of the referendum is by leaving the customs union, by leaving the single market.’
Anna Soubry, Tory MP for Broxtowe in Notts said: ‘We are a union and we will not allow one deal for one part of our great union and not for the other. There is a consensus in this place. Even though the front bench, including the shadow chancellor, when we had a debate and a motion, voted against the customs union, over here, over there and down there we are as one Mr Speaker.
‘There is a solution. I don’t care how you wrap it up in whatever fancy words, but if it conveys the effect on British business of remaining in the customs union and the single market, let’s grab it, seize it, rub out the red lines, move on, work together and get a deal for our nation.’
Liz Kendall, Labour MP for Leicester West said: ‘The way to resolve the border issue, protect the Good Friday Agreement and hold our United Kingdom together is to stay in the customs union and single market. Isn’t it true that the government only has itself to blame for choosing to rule this option out when it does not have to.’
Nigel Dodds, leader of the DUP in the House of Commons, said: ‘We will not allow any settlement to be agreed which causes a divergence politically or economically of Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom. To do so, would not only be politically damaging, but would be an economic catastrophe for everyone in Northern Ireland, Unionist, Nationalist, Remainer or Brexiteer.’