Brexit vote in Strasbourg sends strong message to Tory government

Further progress is still needed before Brexit talks can move on to the future UK-EU relationship, the resolution voted by the European Parliament said today. This prompted a backlash from Labour MEPs against the chaotic and divided messages from the Conservative government that are to blame for stalling Brexit talks.

The resolution on the state of play of Brexit negotiations underlined the necessity that the commitments undertaken by Theresa May in her Florence Speech translate into tangible changes to the UK’s negotiating position, so as to speed up the current pace of the process. The paper states that “[this] will make it possible that, in a second phase on a basis of mutual trust and sincere cooperation, talks can start on a new and close partnership” between the UK and the EU.

Richard Corbett MEP, Labour’s acting leader in the European Parliament, said:

“It will be impossible to move on to the next stage of the negotiations unless the Tories start engaging constructively with our EU negotiating partners with the level of detail needed to advance key questions, including on citizens' rights and securing the Good Friday Agreement.

“Labour MEPs believe that clearer guarantees are needed on citizens’ rights, and that there is scope for progress to be made on this in the next round of talks in October. The three million EU citizens in the UK and 1.3 million British citizens in the rest of the EU are still living under a cloud of uncertainty - they deserve clarity and reassurances over their future.”

Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East of England, also commented: “What became very clear today in the European Parliament is that the EU27 stand united in how they believe the negotiating process should continue, whilst our Prime Minister and her cabinet can’t even agree on a single line to take on Brexit.

“The millions of citizens whose lives have already been directly affected by the Brexit vote and whose futures have been thrown into complete uncertainty simply deserve more from this government.”

Paul Brannen, Labour MEP for the North East of England, added: “A phenomenal amount of groundwork still needs to be carried out in the Brexit process and many vital questions remain unanswered.

“We hope that today’s resolution is a wake-up call for Theresa May and her Brexit team who unfortunately seem more interested in arguing amongst themselves than to get a good deal for our country. The EU message is clear: the clock is ticking.” 

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