PMQs: Emily Thornberry grills Tories on ‘stonewalling’ after Brexit plans U-turn

Still no answers on customs union and Irish border


Emily Thornberry accused the Tories of ‘stonewalling’ and not having a plan for Brexit in today’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, filling in for Jeremy Corbyn, said despite the government’s U-turn on publishing a Brexit plan before Article 50, Theresa May’s stand-in, leader of the house David Lidington, was ‘refusing to give us answers to the most basic of questions.’

Yesterday the Prime Minister agreed to release her Brexit plan when faced with a Tory revolt on Labour’s motion calling for the plan to be released. That motion will be debated tonight, along with a Tory amendment.

Thornberry said:

“It is hugely disappointing that on a day when the government is committing to greater transparency on its intentions for Brexit, we get the usual stonewalling.

We have a government that’s promising to tell us the plan, while refusing to give us answers to the most basic of questions.”

She pointed to the government’s Supreme Court appeal over whether MPs should vote on triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, saying:

“We have a government promising to give parliament a say, when they’re spending we don’t know how much of taxpayers’ money over the road in the Supreme Court trying to stop parliament having a say on this.

We have a government that cannot tell us the plan because they do not have a plan.”

Thornberry had quizzed Lidington on whether the Brexit plan includes staying in the EU customs union and what it means for customs checks on the UK’s border with Ireland.

She made use of quotes from Lidington made before the EU referendum, but he repeated the government’s line about not wanting give away details before negotiations. Thornberry replied, with a sigh:

“Dear, oh dear. We are not asking for details.”

When Lidington said Labour does not respect the EU referendum result, Thornberry replied:

“Of course we accept the democratic decision of the British public, of course we do. But the difference between this side of the House and that side, is that we want to leave the European Union on behalf of 100 per cent, on behalf of the whole of this nation.”

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Labour motion says publish Brexit plan before Article 50

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