Former Labour MEPs Tell Government: Seal the EU Deal

In an open letter, four former leaders of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and 15 former Labour MEPs are holding the government to account for its Brexit promises

Union Jack and European flag

Dear Editor

As former Labour MEPs and members of the Labour Movement for Europe we are worried to hear that as recently as May, UK chief negotiator, David Frost, said UK- EU trade talks “progress remains limited.

Brexit has happened and we all want the government to negotiate the best possible deal with the EU.

But it would now seem almost impossible to negotiate a “comprehensive” free trade deal with “no tariffs” or “quantitative restrictions” and which covers “professional and business services”, as set out in the political declaration, in less than six months, during a pandemic which has killed more people in the UK than any other European country.

Despite this, the government recently confirmed it had chosen not to extend the transition period beyond December 31st.

Therefore, we take from this that the government is in no doubt whatsoever it will achieve a deal that fulfils all the undertakings it made in the agreed UK-EU political declaration, by this Christmas, including maintaining “environmental, social and employment standards at the current high levels”, “a robust and comprehensive framework for competition and state aid control” and a security partnership that comprises “law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.” We also trust the Prime Minister to adhere to his promise that “there is no threat to the Erasmus scheme.”

From this decision, we also understand the government must be one hundred percent confident of rolling over all of the roughly 40 EU trade deals the UK had access to while an EU member and continues to during the transition, by New Year’s Eve, on no worse terms.

They said “the day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards.” They said it would be one of the “easiest” trade deals in “Human history.” They said the deal was “oven ready” last year.

If the government does not achieve all of this it cannot blame coronavirus or the EU and the Brexit reality will bear no resemblance to what was promised.

Yours sincerely,

Former Labour MEPs and Labour Movement for Europe members

Signatories

Richard Corbett, former Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and Labour Movement for Europe Honorary Vice-President
Glenis Wilmott, former Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party
Glyn Ford, former Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and Labour Movement for Europe executive member 
David Martin, former Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party
Anna Turley, Labour Movement for Europe Chair and former MP for Redcar
Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston and former Labour MEP
Alex Mayer, former Labour MEP and Labour Movement for Europe executive member
Carole Tongue, former Labour MEP
Christine Crawley, former Labour MEP
Eryl Mcnally, former Labour MEP
Derek Vaughan, former Labour MEP
Gordon Adam, former Labour MEP
Jackie Jones, former Labour MEP
Julie Ward, former Labour MEP
Ken Collins, former Labour MEP
Paul Brannen, former Labour MEP
Richard Howitt, former Labour MEP
Seb Dance, former Labour MEP
Stephen Hughes, former Labour MEP
Veronica Hardstaff, former Labour MEP
Wajid Khan, former Labour MEP

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