Labour party to scrap Theresa May's Brexit plan if it wins election

Labour party to scrap Theresa May's Brexit plan if it wins election

Britain's main opposition Labour party today unveiled its own Brexit plan, saying it will scrap the ruling Conservative White Paper on the UK's exit from the European Union (EU) if it wins the general election in June.

The central plank of the Labour strategy will be to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens living and working in the UK. British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly linked this with a reciprocal EU guarantee of the rights of British citizens domiciled in European countries.

There are an estimated 3 million citizens of other EU countries living in the UK, and about 1.2 million British expats living elsewhere in Europe.

Labour's shadow Brexit minister, Sir Kier Starmer, set out his party's Brexit plans for the upcoming June 8 general election in a speech in London today. "A Labour government will set out a new Brexit strategy. We will scrap the government’s Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that reflect Labour values and our six tests," he said.

He said the White Paper will have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union as Labour know that is vital to protecting jobs and the economy. "And we will approach negotiations in a completely different way to a Tory Brexit: negotiating for the many, not the few," he said.

"Where May wants to shut down scrutiny and challenge, Labour will welcome it. We will work with Parliament, not against it. Because on an issue of this importance the government can’t hide from the public or Parliament.

"A Labour approach to Brexit means legislating to guarantee that Parliament has a truly meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal." Starmer stressed that while Labour had accepted Brexit, it wanted a deal that would prioritise jobs and workers' rights.

He also said that unlike May, Labour would not walk away from the EU without securing a deal and that the party was clear that no deal would be a "bad deal".

May, in her Brexit stance, has previously said that no deal would be better than a bad deal.

Responding to Starmer's speech, Tory MP Dominic Raab, member of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee, said, "Only Theresa May and the Conservatives can provide the strong and stable leadership the United Kingdom needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.

"But there is a real risk of Jeremy Corbyn – with the support of the SNP and Lib Dems – becoming Prime Minister and being in charge of the Brexit negotiations. He is a weak leader of a divided party who couldn't get the right deal for the United Kingdom.

"We have a clear plan for the Brexit negotiations, and every vote for Theresa May will strengthen her hand in those negotiations to get a good deal for the UK."

The Conservatives are hoping to take seats from Labour in the snap election in areas which voted to leave the EU, including the Midlands, the north-east and north-west of England and across Wales.

May was on a tour of Wales today with the hope of gaining ground from Labour in the region.

Writing in the 'Western Mail', she said: "This election is not about the kind of tribal politics that has held sway in Wales and elsewhere for many years. It is an opportunity to provide this United Kingdom with the strong and stable leadership it needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.

"Securing that deal is my priority and we have the plan to do it. A plan to regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders, and to be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world."

Pro-EU campaigners, meanwhile, have launched a new bid to prevent a so-called "hard Brexit".

The "key seat strategy" will attempt to unseat MPs the campaigners say back a "hard Brexit" and support those who oppose it, including Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem politicians.

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