Brexit worries

The topic of Brexit dominated the recent Party conferences. Theresa May’s announcement that she was likely going to trigger the European Union’s Article 50 exit clause by the end of March 2017, and also her non-commitment to the EU’s single market was alarming.

The value of the pound has already fallen by 13% since the referendum result and the ‘hard Brexit’ announcement consequently led to the markets plummeted even further. Businesses need to regain faith in the British economy, however the growing uncertainty surrounding it makes this increasingly unlikely to happen.

The truth is, nobody in Government really seems to know what Brexit will mean for the UK and there are no substantial plans in place on how they are going to deliver it.

Labour tabled a 170 question dossier in response to Brexit Secretary David Davis and subsequently demanded that Parliament should be given a vote on the government’s Brexit plan before Article 50 is triggered.

This strong-armed approach led to a Government climb-down on their previous stance that negotiations were going to happen ‘behind closed doors’. Mrs May allowed Tory MPs to back Labour’s motion for a full debate on the Government’s negotiation strategy before she invokes article 50, essentially conceding that Parliament should be allowed to properly scrutinise her Brexit strategy and any deal forced through without Commons approval could be detrimental.

The opposition therefore clearly has a vital role to play in holding the Government to account during Brexit negotiations. Now that the Tories have announced that they will be pursuing ‘Hard Brexit’, Labour must ensure that it does not happen at the expense of jobs, worker’s rights, environmental protections, or the British economy.

Immigration will be a central part of negotiations. Labour recognise that we must establish fair migration rules and we will continue to call for the Government to confirm the existing legal status of the 3.5 million EU citizens already living in the UK.

The Tories had no plan when they called for a referendum, and four months after the result they are still no closer to delivering a well thought-out plan. I can assure you however that Labour will continue to fight for the best possible Brexit dealRE