Uk/EU Future Economic Partnership

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:47 pm on 5th March 2018.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 3:47 pm, 5th March 2018

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance copy of the statement. Twenty months have passed since the referendum, and a year has passed since article 50 was triggered—20 wasted months in which the arrogance of some in the Cabinet, who said that it would be the easiest deal in history, has turned into debilitating in-fighting. We have seen set-piece speech after set-piece speech, yet the Prime Minister still cannot bring clarity to the negotiations or certainty to British businesses or workers.

The Prime Minister’s speech on Friday promised to unite the nation, yet it barely papered over the cracks in her own party. Even her own Minister for the Cabinet Office said that it was only “an ambitious opening bid”, so who knows where we will end up? The European Union published a detailed legal document last Wednesday; despite the criticisms rightly made from across the House, where is anything comparable in detail and focus from the UK Government? The reality is that the speech failed to deliver any clear and credible solution to the problems we face. This Government’s shambolic approach to Brexit risks taking us down a dangerous road. This Government’s reckless strategy is putting our jobs and manufacturing industries at risk.

The Prime Minister’s only clear priority seems to be to tie the UK permanently to EU rules that have been used to enforce privatisation and block support for industry. [Interruption.] The Prime Minister now seems to be saying that we will lose some access to European markets and that Britain will be worse off. [Interruption.]