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Labour to vote against Brexit deal signals Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry

Mirror logo Mirror 14/09/2018 Dan Bloom
Emily Thornberry standing in front of a building: Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry © REX/Shutterstock Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry

Labour is set to vote against Theresa May's Brexit deal, top MP Emily Thornberry signalled today.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary said she "can't see" a situation where the deal will meet Labour's tests, adding: "We're not going to agree".

And she said "we are going to have a general election" either in the autumn or the spring, suggesting the vote would topple the Prime Minister.

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The comments are a major blow to Mrs May, who needs to win a crucial vote in Parliament before Christmas on an exit deal - if she can agree it with Brussels first, that is.

Without Labour's support, there could be enough Tory rebels to defeat her - either Remain-backers who feel the deal is too 'hard', or Brexiteers who feel it's too 'soft'. Dozens of Brexiteers have already threatened to oppose the deal.

Labour has previously set out six tests (see below) that any Brexit deal must pass before the party will back it in Parliament.

a sign in front of a building © Credits: AFP

Today Ms Thornberry told the Financial Times: "I can’t see them coming back with a deal that is going to meet our six tests.

"I can’t see them coming back with a deal that will unite the Tory party, for heaven’s sake.

"They are not capable of governing... We’re either going to have a general election in the autumn or we’re going to have it in the spring."

She added: "Even if they come back in October, November, and they say, ‘this flimsy bit of paper is what you’re going to have to agree to, otherwise there’ll be no deal’ - we’re not going to agree to either of those."

a man wearing a suit and tie © DAILY RECORD

It comes just as Labour is facing internal pressure to back a second referendum over Brexit - a so-called 'People's Vote' on the deal.

More than 100 constituency Labour parties have backed a motion calling for the move to be be debated and voted upon at this month's party conference in Liverpool.

Labour has not backed a second referendum but senior figures say the party is leaving "all options on the table" in future.

Days ago, the EU's lead negotiator Michel Barnier gave Mrs May fresh hope by saying a Brexit deal was possible within 6 to 8 weeks.

a man in a suit and tie: British Government Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier © REX/Shutterstock British Government Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

The PM is hoping to move closer to agreement during an informal summit with EU leaders next week in Salzburg.

And today Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab had an "extended phone call" with Mr Barnier.

Mr Raab said: "While there remain some substantive differences we need to resolve, it is clear our teams are closing in on workable solutions to the outstanding issues in the Withdrawal Agreement, and are having productive discussions in the right spirit on the future relationship.

"Looking ahead, we agreed to review the state of play in the negotiations following the informal meeting of heads of state or government of the European Union in Salzburg next Thursday.

"And we reiterated our willingness to devote the necessary time and energy to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion.”

Labour's 'six tests' for the final Brexit deal

  1. Does it ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU?
  2. Does it deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union?
  3. Does it ensure the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities?
  4. Does it defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom?
  5. Does it protect national security and our capacity to tackle cross-border crime?
  6. Does it deliver for all regions and nations of the UK?
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