Labour calls for delay to Brexit process if no trade deal struck with EU by end of 2020
Labour has launched a bid to delay the Brexit process again if the Government fails to strike a trade deal with the EU by the end of the year.
Jeremy Corbyn has tabled an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which will be debated by MPs next week, calling for the implementation period to be extended for two years unless a free trade agreement is in place.
Boris Johnson has previously ruled out applying for an extension to the period, during which the UK will continue to follow EU rules and which is due to run out on 31 December.
That has led to fears that the UK could end up leaving the EU without a deal, forcing it to follow World Trade Organisation rules from the start of 2021.
Under the terms of the Labour amendment, a government minister would be forced to seek an extension if no FTA has been agreed by the middle of June.
In an explanatory note, Labour said: “This new clause would restore the role for parliament in deciding whether to extend transition to avoid a WTO (World Trade Organisation) Brexit.”
However, the Conservatives’ 80-seat majority means the amendment has no chance of being passed by MPs.
The amendment says: “A minister of the crown must seek to secure agreement in the joint committee to a single decision to extend the implementation period by two years, in accordance with Article 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement unless one or more condition in subsection is met.
"Those conditions are: (a) it is before 15 June 2020; (b) an agreement on the future trade relationship has been concluded; (c) the House of Commons has passed a motion in the form set out in subsection (3) and the House of Lords has considered a motion to take note of the government's intention not to request an extension."
Labour has also tabled another amendment seeking to protect the right of unaccompanied refugee children to be reunited with their families in the UK after Brexit.
The Government dumped that pledge when it reintroduced the Withdrawal Bill after the election, despite previously committing to it.