Brexit: Campbell says Labour ‘should not support deal’
On December 30, just a day before a trade deal needs to be agreed by Parliament, MPs will vote on whether or not to accept the terms Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and his chief Brexit negotiator David Frost, got from Brussels. Should a deal not be secured, the UK will leave the bloc with no deal – seeing the nation trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms. This is what many in the Labour Party are vehemently against, as they believe the UK must have a trade pact secured with Brussels before it exits officially on January 1.
Such is Labour desire to secure the deal, leader Sir Keir has demanded all MPs back Mr Johnson’s deal – despite many politicians in the party ardent Remainers.
As many as 20 MPs have reportedly admitted they could abstain from the vote, including the likes of Ben Bradshaw, Kevin Brennan, Neil Coyle, Rupa Huq, Geraint Davies and Clive Efford, the Telegraph claims.
It is feared, among some MPs, that they could lose voter confidence in backing a Brexit deal, particularly those in pro-EU areas across the country, including in London.
Mr Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, told Politico that he wasn’t “voting for something that so clearly lets down British people, British business, and the UK as a whole”.
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He added that Mr Johnson’s “downgrade for the UK should not have any Labour fingerprints on it”.
Another added: “We don’t want to get Brexit blood on our hands.”
The Labour voting crisis comes despite Sir Keir threatening any Shadow Minister who goes against the three-line whip on the vote would be axed from frontbench duties.
Other fears come from pro-Jeremy Corbyn MPs, who will likely rebel against Sir Keir as a result of the former leader’s treatment after he had the whip withdrawn.
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Yet, it appears unlikely anyone within the Shadow Cabinet will resign, party insiders claim.
In moving to accept Mr Johnson’s deal, Sir Keir said the party would back the Government, despite him arguing it was a “thin” pact.
He added: “At a moment of such national significance, it is just not credible for Labour to be on the sidelines.”
Mr Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen clinched the deal on Christmas Eve after haggling over fishing rights.
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Despite the feelgood factor embraced by the UK, over in Brussels the mood struck a more sombre tone, with Ms von der Leyen underlining that she felt “relief that we can finally put Brexit behind us”.
Mr Johnson, meanwhile, proudly exclaimed how the UK was now on course to take back control with the new deal, which both sides had wished for since negotiations on trade began earlier this year.
Although the fishing industry represents just 0.1 percent of the UK economy, it became a symbolic issue given Brexiteers’ calls for more sovereignty outside of the EU.
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) released a statement branding the deal “derisory” for fishermen in the UK, signalling that the Prime Minister could be headed for a fisheries backlash.
SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald said: “If any of these offers are accurate, then in terms of percentages and length of the transition period, they are utterly derisory and totally unacceptable to the Scottish fishing fleet.
“Repatriating only 35 percent of the EU’s landings to the UK phased in over a period of several years would be a terrible deal for the fishing industry.”
Mr Johnson accepted that the EU will hand back 25 percent of the value of fish it catches in British waters over a five-and-a-half-year transition period.
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