May fails to answer key questions needed to advance Brexit talks

“Theresa May still hopes for ‘access without obligations’ when it comes to our main export market”.

That is the message from Labour’s leader in the European Parliament following the Prime Minister’s speech on the next stage of the Brexit negotiations.

Richard Corbett, the leader of Labour MEPs, said:

“Theresa May had an opportunity to show that she will not allow a disruptive minority within her own party to undermine her. Yet once again, she has failed to deliver, putting Tory unity ahead of what is best for the country.”

“In crafting her words to avoid yet another row within her Cabinet, she has given a fudge of a speech that fails to answer the fundamental Brexit questions:

– how to retain frictionless access to our main export market if we leave the customs union and diverge from the common rules we have hitherto agreed?

– how if we turn the Northern Ireland border into a customs border, do we avoid customs controls?

“This week Labour presented an approach to Brexit that would prioritise jobs, protect the Good Friday Agreement and maintain the unity of the United Kingdom. Despite weeks of cabinet discussions and briefings, we still don’t know how Theresa May intends to protect these priorities.”

Commenting on a commitment to maintain British involvement in certain EU agencies:

“It appears the government may finally be waking up to some of the technical challenges that are posed by Brexit, but this means very little without progress in the main negotiations. The Prime Minister must confront the internal contradictions of her Brexit plans.”