An engrossing, authoritative, content packed briefing on Britain, Brexit and Labour’s demands for the way forward given to members of Nottingham South Labour Party.
Paul Blomfield is a front bench spokesperson on Brexit for Labour and MP for Sheffield Central.
Some points (caution – my notes!) –
Every time, the Conservatives have approached membership of the EU or leaving it, through the perspective of something for every part of its party.
Labour have seen 5 of their demands in the white paper, although the bit on Parliament having a meaningful vote on the final deal is being voted on on Monday.
Labours perspective is economy and jobs. Full access to the single market.
Quite a quote from the (White paper) “We’ve been sovereign throughout the 43 years of our membership of the EU, but it just hasn’t felt like it.”
European Court of Justice has been an arbitration unit for trading agreements. Something like it will be needed for future arrangements.
There is space to reflect on free movement of people – it shouldn’t be a red line.
Red lines for Labour are EU nationals – a central issue since July – and a meaningful vote.
18 months for negotiations.
Article 50 vote. Didn’t enforce whip. Vote only triggers negotiations and the referendum did have to count for something – cos we said on the doorstep that it matters.
Over the same time, debating the Great Repeal Act to incorporate the European stuff in British law for day 1.
There are 6 principles being worked to –
- That if the UK leaves the EU single market or customs union, it should be only on “clear, demonstrable evidence” that it would cause no economic disadvantage. It also calls for the government to agree on a transitional trade deal and rule out a default to World Trade Organisation terms.
- To seek unspecified reform of the free movement of people from the EU with greater controls, while also “making the positive case for migration”.
- Maintaining cooperation with the EU in areas such as policing and security, and to avoid a more insular outlook, keeping current levels of defence and aid spending.
- Defend and keep existing EU regulations on employment and consumer protection, and to lead on environmental and climate change issues.
- Use Brexit as the spur to create a “new political economy” based around fairness, and to prevent a “cliff edge” of funding for EU-linked projects after 2020.
- To ensure parliament plays a key role in monitoring the terms of Brexit, and has a vote on a final deal.
If not a good deal, we will not vote for it.
There is free movement of labour, not the free movement of people.