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Keir Starmer to seek alliance with Tory ex-Cabinet ministers in bid to halt no-deal Brexit

3 min read

Keir Starmer has announced plans for a cross-party alliance with Cabinet ministers on the verge of quitting the Government in a bid to stop the next Prime Minister from pursuing a no-deal Brexit.

The Shadow Brexit Secretary confirmed that would reach out to figures such as Philip Hammond and David Gauke, who are strongly opposed to Britain quitting the EU without an agreement.

Mr Johnson, the runaway favourite to take over from Theresa May this week, has insisted that the UK will leave “do or die” on 31 October.

His rival, Jeremy Hunt, meanwhile has refused to commit to a hard exit date, but has said that if a deal is not in sight by the beginning of October, he would ramp up preparations for a no-deal exit.

The Chancellor, Mr Hammond, last week said he would do “everything in my power” to prevent Britain from crashing out, while the Justice Secretary, Mr Gauke, has vowed to quit on Wednesday.

Mr Starmer said the Commons had to be put on a “war footing” to prevent a “disastrous and chaotic” no-deal outcome.

Writing in the Observer, he said: “On Tuesday morning some ministers will sit around the cabinet table for the last time.”

“They know very well the dangers of no deal. They will have been briefed about what it would mean for jobs, the economy, our public services and the union. They will have seen the advice and read the evidence.

“After they have resigned this week, I will want to work with all those former ministers who, like me, want to ensure parliament can stop a disastrous and chaotic exit from the EU.”

The Labour frontbencher said Mr Johnson and his rival, Mr Hunt, had taken part in an “arms race towards a more and more extreme form of Brexit”.

“Deeper red lines, even more ludicrous promises, but absolutely no coherent or workable plan for the country,” he added.

It comes after Mr Hammond insisted that he would “not exclude anything for the moment,” when asked about potentially voting to bring down a Tory government that sought to rail a no-deal Brexit through against MPs' wishes.

He added: “I will do everything in my power from my position to make sure that Parliament blocks a Brexit without agreement.”

Meanwhile Mr Gauke, writing in the Sunday Times, said a hard exit would be a "humiliation" for the UK.

He added: “In a period of time where there is no parliamentary majority, there’s political uncertainty and a lack of stability, I worry that the UK then will essentially be supplicants.

“We’ll go through the pain of no-deal and then we will have no choice but to go back to the EU but in a weaker negotiating position.

“I fear that, frankly, there is a humiliation for us there if we go down that route.”

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