Labour will block ‘political hoax’ of no-deal Brexit, says Keir Starmer
Labour will work with MPs from across the Commons to bring down the option of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal, Keir Starmer has said.
The Shadow Brexit Secretary said his party’s MPs would work alongside dozens of Tories and other groups to stop a “politically unsustainable” move which lacked the support of the Commons.
In a call for members to “take back control” of the process, Mr Starmer said that forcing MPs to choose between a bad deal or leaving without an agreement was a “political hoax”.
“Labour will stick to its guns. Supporting a bad deal is not in the national interest,” he wrote in The Sunday Times.
“So, we have to be clear that if the prime minister’s deal is rejected, parliament must take back control. There is no mandate for a no deal. The vast majority of MPs will not countenance it.
“As crunch time looms, there is now the very real prospect the Prime Minister will struggle to find enough support for her deal to be formally approved by Parliament. If a Brexit deal is rejected by MPs, that isn’t a mandate for no deal,” he writes.
“There is no duty on Labour MPs – or indeed, any MP – to surrender to a bad deal. To do so would be to concede to a political hoax designed to bully rather than persuade.”
The paper says that up to 40 Tory MPs are opposed to a no-deal exit, meaning they could shatter the Government’s wafer-thin majority with the DUP by working with other parties.
Mr Starmer laid out five options he believes can force through the necessary change to halt a no-deal scenario, including amending the “meaningful vote” definition to allow MPs to reject both options and rewriting any of the necessary legislation brought forward by ministers.
The shadow Cabinet minister also left open the option of voting down any new plan brought forward by Theresa May after her deal is rejected, where the UK would leave the EU without an agreement.
And he said MPs could pass urgent motions through the House of Commons against a no deal or trigger a no confidence vote to force a change of Government.
It comes just days after Jeremy Corbyn frustrated colleagues in an interview with Der Spiegel, by distancing Labour from pushing for a second referendum on the final deal.
Mr Starmer’s comments also come after the head of the body that represents catering associations for the public sector said he was “very, very concerned” that hospitals could run out of nutritious food for patient meals in the event of a no-deal exit.
Andy Jones, of Public Sector 100, told The Observer that about 40% of food in the sector is imported from the EU, including chicken and salad.
“It is not just of case of whether we will be able to get enough, if there is no deal, but also whether we will be able to afford it,” he said.
“Good food is vital for patients. Food is like medicine. If patients don’t get it then in some cases they will not get home.”