Keir Starmer refuses to back Brexit transition extension – The Independent

Posted: May 11, 2020 at 11:49 am

Keir Starmer has rejected calls for the Brexit transition period to be extended, saying he would rather the negotiations were completed as quickly as possible.

The deadline for agreeing a further extension to the transition period is next month, and some opposition parties, including the SNP and Lib Dems, have called for the government to request one in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

If no extension is agreed then the UK will leave the single market at the end of the year with or without a deal potentially taking significant economic damage.

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The Labour leader said he didnt think it was practical to agree a deal by December but that he nevertheless wanted to see how we get on in talks.

Asked whether he would support an extension with the deadline looming in June, Sir Keir told LBC Radio: The government says its going to get negotiations and a deal done by the end of the year.

Ive always thought thats tight and pretty unlikely, but were going to hold them to that and see how they get on. They say theyre going to do it.

Pushed again to clarify his position on the issue, he said: I would seek to ensure that the negotiations were completed as quickly as possible. Ive not called for a pause because the government says its going to get it done by the end of the year. So lets see how they get on.

I dont think its practical but were a long way from December so well see how we get on. But the government has said we can do it within the 12 months, so lets see.

Boris Johnson has said he will not supportan extension under any circumstances, despite negotiating a mechanism to call for one into the withdrawal agreement. The European Commission has said it would be happy to agree an extension in light of the pandemic and pressures on negotiations.

If no free trade agreement is agreed before the UK leaves the transition period during which is is treated like an EU member state the economic damage from the sharp break with Europe is expected to be significant.

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Talks so far have got off to a slow start, with two rounds being cancelled due to the pandemic. Negotiations have resumed via videoconferencing, but both sides are still far apart on issues such as fishing, human rights, state aid, and the role of the EUs court.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said Brussels is open to a further extension (EPA)

Polling suggests strong public support for extending the transition period in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sir Keir was also asked about Labours policy to help renters during the Covid-19 lockdown, which some critics have said favours landlords over tenants.

A referendum is held on Britain's membership of the European Union. Fifty-two per cent of the country votes in favour of leaving

AFP via Getty

David Cameron resigns on the morning of the result after leading the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU

Getty

Theresa May becomes leader of the Conservative party and prime minister, winning the leadership contest unopposed after Andrea Leadsom drops out

Getty

The High Court rules that parliament must vote on triggering Article 50, which would begin the Brexit process

The prime minister triggers Article 50 after parliament endorses the result of the referendum

Getty

Seeking a mandate for her Brexit plan, May goes to the country

Getty

After a disastrous campaign, Theresa May loses her majority in the commons and turns to the DUP for support. Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party makes gains after being predicted to lose heavily

AFP/Getty

David Davis and Michel Barnier, chief negotiators for the UK and EU respectively, hold a press conference on the first day of Brexit negotiations. Soon after the beginning of negotiations, it becomes clear that the issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will prove a major sticking point

AFP/Getty

The government suffers a defeat in parliament over the EU withdrawal agreement, guaranteeing that MPs are given a 'meaningful vote' on the deal

Following a summit at Chequers where the prime minister claimed to have gained cabinet support for her deal, Boris Johnson resigns as foreign secretary along with David Davis, the Brexit secretary

Reuters

The draft withdrawal agreement settles Britain's divorce bill, secures the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa and includes a political declaration commiting both parties to frictionless trade in goods and cooperation on security matters. The deal also includes the backstop, which is anathema to many brexiteers and Dominic Raab and Esther McVey resign from the cabinet in protest

Getty

After several failed attempts to pass her withdrawal agreement through the commons, Theresa May resigns

Reuters

Boris Johnson is elected leader of the Conservative party in a landslide victory. He later heads to Buckingham Palace where the Queen invites him to form a government

Getty

Boris Johnson prorogues parliament for five weeks in the lead up to the UK's agreed departure date of 31 October.

Stephen Morgan MP

The High Court rules that Johnson's prorogation of parliament is 'unlawful' after a legal challenge brought by businesswoman Gina Miller

Getty

Following a summit in Merseyside, Johnson agrees a compromise to the backstop with Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar - making the withdrawal agreement more palatable to Brexiteers

Getty

As parliament passes the Letwin amendment requiring the prime minister to request a further delay to Brexit, protesters take to the streets in the final show of force for a Final Say referendum

Getty

The Conservatives win the December election in a landslide, granting Boris Johnson a large majority to pass through his brexit deal and pursue his domestic agenda

Getty

The withdrawal agreement passes through the commons with a majority of 124

Getty

Members of the European parliament overwhelmingly back the ratification of Britain's departure, clearing the way for Brexit two days later on 31 January. Following the vote, members join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne

AFP/Getty

A referendum is held on Britain's membership of the European Union. Fifty-two per cent of the country votes in favour of leaving

AFP via Getty

David Cameron resigns on the morning of the result after leading the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU

Getty

Theresa May becomes leader of the Conservative party and prime minister, winning the leadership contest unopposed after Andrea Leadsom drops out

Getty

The High Court rules that parliament must vote on triggering Article 50, which would begin the Brexit process

The prime minister triggers Article 50 after parliament endorses the result of the referendum

Getty

Seeking a mandate for her Brexit plan, May goes to the country

Getty

After a disastrous campaign, Theresa May loses her majority in the commons and turns to the DUP for support. Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party makes gains after being predicted to lose heavily

AFP/Getty

David Davis and Michel Barnier, chief negotiators for the UK and EU respectively, hold a press conference on the first day of Brexit negotiations. Soon after the beginning of negotiations, it becomes clear that the issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will prove a major sticking point

AFP/Getty

The government suffers a defeat in parliament over the EU withdrawal agreement, guaranteeing that MPs are given a 'meaningful vote' on the deal

Following a summit at Chequers where the prime minister claimed to have gained cabinet support for her deal, Boris Johnson resigns as foreign secretary along with David Davis, the Brexit secretary

Reuters

The draft withdrawal agreement settles Britain's divorce bill, secures the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa and includes a political declaration commiting both parties to frictionless trade in goods and cooperation on security matters. The deal also includes the backstop, which is anathema to many brexiteers and Dominic Raab and Esther McVey resign from the cabinet in protest

Getty

After several failed attempts to pass her withdrawal agreement through the commons, Theresa May resigns

Reuters

Boris Johnson is elected leader of the Conservative party in a landslide victory. He later heads to Buckingham Palace where the Queen invites him to form a government

Getty

Boris Johnson prorogues parliament for five weeks in the lead up to the UK's agreed departure date of 31 October.

Stephen Morgan MP

The High Court rules that Johnson's prorogation of parliament is 'unlawful' after a legal challenge brought by businesswoman Gina Miller

Getty

Following a summit in Merseyside, Johnson agrees a compromise to the backstop with Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar - making the withdrawal agreement more palatable to Brexiteers

Getty

As parliament passes the Letwin amendment requiring the prime minister to request a further delay to Brexit, protesters take to the streets in the final show of force for a Final Say referendum

Getty

The Conservatives win the December election in a landslide, granting Boris Johnson a large majority to pass through his brexit deal and pursue his domestic agenda

Getty

The withdrawal agreement passes through the commons with a majority of 124

Getty

Members of the European parliament overwhelmingly back the ratification of Britain's departure, clearing the way for Brexit two days later on 31 January. Following the vote, members join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne

AFP/Getty

He defended not calling for a rent holiday, telling a caller: If all rents are suspended full stop, then the government will have to pay to compensate landlords, theres no question about that. Therefore public money will be paid to landlords to compensate for the fact they havent got rent, even when people dont lose their jobs.

Under Labours plan, renters would be given two years to pay back any arrears they have accrued but critics have said this would amount to a rent rise during a recession. The Labour leader said that he also believed the benefit system should be paying the rent at a better rate for people who lose their jobs.

On a separate question of employees going back to work, Sir Keir was asked whether he would support a trade union with safety concerns urging workers to stay off the job. The Labour leader said wed have to look at it but added I do think everybodys entitled to a safe place at work.

Continued here:

Keir Starmer refuses to back Brexit transition extension - The Independent

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