I recently wrote to Keir Starmer with the aim of trying to get Labour to seek an extension to the transition period. They have rather predictably refused to do so. The full text of the email has been included below:
Thank you for your email to Keir Starmer MP in relation to Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U. At this point in time, Keir’s mailbag is so full that he has asked me to respond on his behalf. I’m very sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
Your views and assertions have been noted and shared with the relevant team.
The UK has left the European Union and Labour wants the best possible deal for this country. Negotiations on our future relationship with the EU have continued through the coronavirus crisis. The Tories have said they will still get a deal by the end of the year. It is their responsibility to do that.
The first test for them will be the planned summit in June at which both sides will determine whether “sufficient” progress has been made to secure agreement by December. Number 10 has rightly focused its energies on fighting the coronavirus but it is of great concern that negotiations have been reduced in scale while negotiators have so far failed to make any significant progress.
The Tories have said that they have a mandate to ‘Get Brexit Done’, so the deal should at the very least deliver on the promises they made at the last election in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto, which said “we have a great new deal that is ready to go”.
That is the minimum against which Labour will hold the Government accountable in these negotiations. The Government has a responsibility to protect jobs, protect our food and medical supplies and protect our citizens’ safety and security. Now is not the time to put those things at risk.
Coronavirus will have a huge economic impact. There are devastating predictions of job losses in the UK. We must not make that situation worse with tariffs and barriers to trade with our biggest market.
The UK has left the European Union. Labour wants the best possible deal for this country, which should:
· Protect jobs and the economy through trade deals for goods and services which minimise disruption to business.
· Maintain the security of the UK by retaining existing co-operation as far as possible.
· Respect the Good Friday Agreement in line with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
· Enable continued collaboration in areas of mutual benefit, such as health and research.
Labour has argued that deal should be based on a close economic relationship and alignment on protections for workers, consumers and the environment.
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