Labour pledges to tear up Theresa May's Brexit plan and guarantee EU citizens' rights

Written by John Ashmore on 25 April 2017 in News

Shadow Brexit minister Keir Starmer will give a speech today laying out Labour’s plans

Sir Keir Starmer - Image credit: PA images

A Labour government would scrap Theresa May's plan for Brexit and offer a unilateral guarantee to three million EU citizens that they can continue to live in the UK, Sir Keir Starmer will say today.

The shadow Brexit secretary will say his party would get rid of the UK Government's Brexit white paper and come up with "fresh negotiating priorities" if it wins on 8 June.

They would focus on "retaining the benefits of the single market and the customs union", he will say.

Labour would also replace the so-called Great Repeal Bill, which will convert EU law into UK legislation, with an EU rights and protections bill.

A ‘presumption of devolution’ would also be introduced ensuring that powers transferred from the EU – such as fishing and agriculture – will go straight to the relevant region or nation, Starmer will say.

His intervention comes after Jeremy Corbyn insisted the upcoming general election is not about Brexit.

Speaking on central London, Starmer will say: "On day one of a Labour government we will immediately guarantee that all EU nationals currently living in the UK will see no change in their legal status as a result of Brexit, and we will seek reciprocal rights for UK citizens in the EU.

"There could be no clearer signal that Britain is taking a new approach to Brexit than a Labour government immediately rectifying this injustice.

“And there could no clearer signal that Labour want a close and collaborative future relationship with our EU partners."

His plans would also mean a greater role for Parliament, with what he calls a "truly meaningful vote" on the final deal - although it is not clear if that constitutes giving MPs an effective veto. 

"Where Theresa May wants to shut down scrutiny and challenge, Labour will welcome it. We will work with Parliament, not against it.

“Because on an issue of this importance the Government can’t hide from the public or Parliament," Starmer will say.

Pro-Brexit Tory MP Dominic Raab said only his party had a "clear plan" for Brexit, as he warned that Jeremy Corbyn would not be able to negotiate for Britain.

"There is a real risk of Jeremy Corbyn – with the support of the SNP and Lib Dems – becoming prime minister and being in charge of the Brexit negotiations," he said. 

"He is a weak leader of a divided party who couldn’t get the right deal for the United Kingdom.”

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