Yesterday the UK government produced a White Paper setting out how it intends to move forward on Brexit. This is what Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, had to say yesterday:
"Today’s White Paper is indicative of the Government’s whole approach to Brexit. For months they have refused to publish a plan or allow proper scrutiny, and when they are finally forced to produce a White Paper it is rushed, limited and not well thought through. The White Paper offers no certainty for EU citizens living in the UK, no additional detail on how workers’ and consumer rights will be protected, and nothing on how full tariff-free access to the single market will be delivered.
"It’s a wish list, not an action plan.
"Labour has said throughout that there needs to be accountability and scrutiny throughout the Brexit process. Next week we will debate amendments to the Article 50 Bill that would achieve that - in particular by guaranteeing a meaningful vote that ensures our Parliament votes on the Article 50 deal before the European Parliament does. The Government should welcome that, not reject it”."
Parliament voted through the triggering of Article 50 yesterday but the lack of detail in the White Paper, could mean that more MPs decide to change their current stance. Hundreds of amendments have been tabled which will require scrutiny at the Committee stage next week so the process is not likely to be one of merely "rubber stamping" the Article 50 process.
Labour Member of the European Parliament for the North East, Paul Brannen said:
"The EU referendum was presented to the UK as a simple choice of In or Out but the reality is that leaving the EU is going to be far more complex than the Leave campaign lead people to believe. Producing a White Paper such as this, with little clarity or strategic thinking, shows a Conservative Government that is disdainful of what the country really needs or what it is likely to achieve during the EU negotiations."
Do you think the North East needs its own voice in the EU exit negotiations?