Labour set to vote against Theresa May's Brexit deal, says Emily Thornberry

Posted On: 
14th September 2018

Labour is preparing to vote against the Brexit deal Theresa May agrees with the European Union, Emily Thornberry has said.

Emily Thornberry's comments appear to put her at odds with Keir Starmer.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Shadow Foreign Secretary said her party was "not going to agree" with a vague agreement simply because the alternative is leaving the bloc without a deal.

Her comments increase the chances of the Prime Minister being unable to get her deal through the Commons, a development which would throw the Government into chaos.

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Labour's official policy is to judge any agreement Mrs May secures in the autumn against six tests they have said it must pass to secure their backing.

But speaking to the Financial Times, Ms Thornberry said it was unlikely it would do so, and therefore Labour was likely to vote against.

She said the Brexit strategy agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers in July - which seeks to maintain close economic links with the EU - was "nonsense".

And she added: "Even if they come back in October, November, and they say, ‘this flimsy bit of paper is what you’re going to have to agree to, otherwise there’ll be no deal’. We’re not going to agree to either of those."

However, Ms Thornberry insisted her preferred alternative was a general election rather than the second referendum supported by many Labour MPs.

She said: "I can’t see them coming back with a deal that is going to meet our six tests and I can’t see them coming back with a deal that will unite the Tory party, for heaven’s sake. They are not capable of governing. We’re either going to have a general election in the autumn or we’re going to have it in the spring."

Labour sources insisted the party's policy on the "meaningful vote" MPs will be given on the deal has not changed.

One insider said: "Emily is saying candidly that she can't see how, as things stand, May is going to deliver a deal which meets our tests given the current policy of Chequers or bust."