Parliament rejects the Government’s Brexit deal

After a month of delay, Parliament finally had a chance to vote on the Government’s deeply flawed Brexit deal. Labour voted against this deal because it does not protect jobs, workplace rights or environmental standards; does not ensure frictionless trade for UK businesses and provides no certainty about our future relationship with the EU. The Government’s own economic analysis shows this deal will make the country poorer – with GDP falling by around 3.9% and every region of the UK being worse off.

Labour opposed this deal because it rules out a permanent customs union with a British say, which is vital to support businesses, jobs and the manufacturing supply chains they depend on. The deal does not deliver a good deal on services and would limit access for British businesses to vital EU markets, it would also weaken workers’ rights, consumer protections and environmental standards. The Government’s Withdrawal Agreement provided no guarantee that the UK will continue equivalent arrangements with key EU programmes and agencies, could lead to a weakening of our security involvement and gives no certainty the UK will remain part of common EU arrangements such as the European Arrest Warrant.

The lack of clarity in the political declaration and the absence of a credible solution to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland makes it highly likely that the backstop will be implemented – which would have serious implications.

Taken together, the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration are a miserable failure after two years of negotiations. Delaying this vote by a month has simply created more uncertainty and run down the clock on the Article 50 process.

Labour does not accept the choice is between the Government’s deal or no deal. Labour will work across Parliament to block ‘no deal’. Our preference is for there to be a general election but, if that if that is not possible, we will keep options on the table to prevent no deal – including campaigning for a public vote. Labour tabled and did not move a frontbench amendment that would have rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal and opposed the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

Parliament voted to reject an amendment which stated that the UK would have the unilateral right to terminate the backstop (Ayes: 24 Noes: 600).

Parliament voted to reject the Prime Minister’s deal by 230 votes (Ayes: 202 Noes: 432).