We are in a tumultuous situation on Brexit. This is the result of the Government’s failure and refusal to adopt the kind of approach I and the Labour Party have been calling for, that can safeguard jobs and the economy.
It is very clear that Parliament has zero faith in Theresa May’s deal and that is why the deal was defeated by the largest margin in Parliamentary history – 230 votes. Under any other time, under these circumstances, the Government would have resigned. The Government have no mandate on Brexit. They have been defeated 27 times. They have chosen not to vote 23 times. If a Government cannot get its policies through the House of Commons, then they are not a functioning Government and they should go.
This Government has sought to delay, avoid and frustrate Parliament throughout this Brexit process. And it is only thanks to Labour pushing for the right to a meaningful vote in November last year, that we are now at least in a position for Parliament to shape what happens next. Otherwise, this Government were quite prepared to run down the clock towards 29 March and a potential cliff edge of No Deal.
Theresa May’s continued entrenchment in ruling out a calamitous No Deal Brexit is reckless. That is why it is right that Labour continues to push this Government to rule out No Deal as an option altogether.
We will continue to advocate for a General Election, but if this is not possible we will push for a Brexit deal that keeps the UK in a customs union with the EU and a strong single market arrangement. We also need to ensure that any deal protects jobs, workers rights and prevents a border on the island of Ireland. Given all the uncertainty Labour is clear that we must continue to keep all other options on the table at this stage including a Public Vote.
I want to assure you that I and the Labour party will continue to look to find ways to use Parliamentary procedures to hold this Government to account and find a resolution to the situation this Government has put our country into.