Britain will leave the EU under a Labour government. We respect the decision of the British people who voted to Leave in the referendum. Out means out and leave means leave.
However, it is vital that we get the best possible deal from the EU, to ensure future prosperity for our nation, and for future generations. Labour has the best chance of getting a good deal as we have a highly professional approach to negotiations, which will be led by Sir Keir Starmer QC MP, who is a highly talented barrister. Labour also has the advantage of excellent behind the scenes contacts with other European political parties, trade unions and governments, many of whom quietly share the frustrations of the British people with the unaccountable EU institutions.
The UK will leave the EU in March 2019. Given that 44% of Britain’s exports are with the EU, we simply cannot allow the economy to fall off a cliff, which is what the “no deal” scenario touted by the Tories would represent. If we took that approach, multi-national companies and even British companies would withdraw investment and jobs from Britain.
The top priority in negotiations must be that we keep a tariff free export arrangement with the EU. There are several ways this could be achieved, and it is not possible to have proper diplomacy and negotiations by issuing public threats and insults, as Theresa May has done. Labour does not believe in staying in the European Economic Area (EEA = single market), unless it is reformed, but we believe that whatever the opening public stance taken by the EU, there are opportunities for reform and many other EU countries would like to see those reforms as well. If the EEA cannot be reformed than the UK will need to have a new, bespoke agreement with the EU. This is achievable. It cannot be achieved by fantasising about hypothetical future trade deals with India, for example, it can only be achieved by working to sustain a good working and trade relationship with the countries of the EU, Labour is confident we can deliver this.
What Labour doesn’t accept, and does not believe the British people will accept, is the Tory vision of the UK as a Poundland economy: attracting businesses here only by lower levels of corporation tax, less health and safety, less environmental regulation, lower wages and worse employment rights. We have six tests to judge whether we will support any deal, and these boil down to a commitment that the British People will not be worse off.
Once Britain leaves the EU, the UK’s commitment to the free movement of labour ends. Labour is determined to deliver an immigration policy that the British people agree with, and this means that the policy has to work in the interests both of the British economy and of communities. We cannot cut our nose off to spite our face, so immigration will be needed to address key skill shortages. But under Labour we are determined that we will train the workforce so that we have fewer skills shortages in the future. The Conservative approach of stopping bursaries for student nurses so young people here cannot afford to train to be nurses while the NHS then has to go to the Philippines and India to recruit nurses makes no sense.
The Conservative’s idea of leaving with no deal also jeopardises the sovereignty of Gibralter and peace and stability of Northern Ireland. This is not in our national interest, and the Conservatives are being reckless.
We are leaving the EU, that is certain. But how we leave the EU will shape our nations for a generation or more. Labour is determined to deliver a Brexit that works for the British people, for our economy, and ensures that we are no less prosperous, and that we suffer no reduction in rights and liberties.
Published and promoted by Steve Abbott of 71 High Street, Corsham, SN13 0HA on behalf of Andy Newman, 5 Elm Hayes, Corsham, SN13 9JW