We will not sign off bad Brexit deal, says Labour’s European Parliament leader

We will not sign off bad Brexit deal, says Labour’s European Parliament leader

Labour’s leader in the European Parliament has said she and her colleagues will not sign off on a bad Brexit deal.

Glenis Willmott said Labour and other left-wing parties would not support a deal that undermined things like workers’ rights and the peace process in Northern Ireland.

The final Brexit deal would need approval by MEPs as well as MPs in Westminster.

Her comments came as the conference hall at Labour showed splits on Brexit, with party members and associated groups having voted against it as a major topic for debate and vote.

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“Some time in the next 18 months the European Parliament will have to decide whether to approve or not the final Brexit deal,” Ms Willmott said.

“On behalf of my Labour colleagues, and on behalf of our sister party colleagues across Europe, I can tell you there will be no backing for a deal that undermines the peace process in Northern Ireland.”

“There will be no backing for a deal that fails to give peace of mind to EU citizens in Britain, and Brits who have made their home abroad.”

“And there will be no backing for a deal that opens the door to attacks on workers’ rights and safety standards.”

Delegates from local parties and unions chose eight other subjects as priorities for debate, after the Corbyn-backing Momentum movement urged its supporters not to vote for the Brexit motion.

The decision sparked fury from Europhile MPs on Sunday evening.

Cameron Clack, from Grantham and Stamford CLP, told conference: “Yesterday, you voted away your chance to remain in the single market, you voted away your chance to stay in the union.”

“You voted away your chance to stop this disastrous Brexit.”

“This Labour administration – we’re not even an administration, we’re the opposition – we will be remembered as the opposition that let the Tories do what they want with Brexit.”

This was greeted by a small chorus of boos on the conference floor, while a more positive outlook from another delegate got a round of applause.

“We’re debating Brexit today,” said Owen Dickinson, from Sedgefield CLP.

“We did not need to take up more time to discuss Brexit when we can use it to discuss things like our NHS.”

Labour’s position on Brexit has been subject to much debate, which was reflected in further comments from the main conference stage.

Ulrike Bille, from York CLP, said: “While I accept the result, even though I wasn’t asked to participate, I don’t accept that it means Brexit can’t be stopped.”

“In fact, I think Brexit must be stopped.”

“Otherwise, we will be judged on enabling a Brexit that is hurting this country and that will continue hurting this country and the weakest in it for decades to come.”

But Jean Roberts, from Brent Central CLP, said Labour must reach out to areas that voted Leave and not “demonise those of us who voted for Brexit”.

She added: “We’re not all agreed, which is why I’m pleased at the fact we’re not actually going to have a vote.”

Darryl Telles, from Hove Constituency Labour Party, said a Stop Brexit protest on the first day of conference was intended to “undermine” Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

He said to those calling for Brexit to be halted: “I remember the Monty Python sketch, the parrot is dead, it doesn’t exist, it has ceased to exist.”

“You have as much chance of stopping Brexit as Jeremy Corbyn has of wearing my Tottenham shirt.”

Photo: An anti-Brexit demonstration on the seafront during the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Pic by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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