Britain’s main opposition Labour Party yesterday said it would reject British Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal with the EU when it comes to a vote in parliament.
If Britain and the EU agree on a deal, it must be approved by individual nations before Britain leaves. In the UK that means a vote by lawmakers, and the math looks ominous for May’s government, which lacks an overall majority.
Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the party would reject a deal along the lines May is proposing because it does not meet “six tests” it has set, including protecting workers’ rights and retaining access to European markets.
Starmer told the told the BBC that May’s negotiations with the bloc were “chaotic and failing.”
“We cannot carry on with this idea that the prime minister can bring back any deal that she cobbles together and we must all vote for it however awful it is, because something even worse will happen if we don’t,” Starmer said.
“If Theresa May brings back a deal that does not meet our tests — and that looks increasingly likely — Labour will vote against her deal. No ifs, no buts,” he told Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool.
If parliament votes down May’s deal, or she fails to reach an agreement, all alternatives must be on the table, including another public vote in which remaining in the EU is an option, he said in his speech.
He also said that if parliament rejected the deal there should be a new election, though it is unclear where that would leave the Brexit negotiations.
With Britain due to leave the EU in six months, on March 29, and negotiations at an impasse, Labour leaders are under pressure from members to back a new referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
Delegates at Labour’s annual conference were yesterday expected to back a motion leaving that option open, but not calling for it directly.
EU leaders rejected the Conservative government’s blueprint for future trade ties at a fractious summit in the Austrian city of Salzburg on Thursday last week.
It seeks to keep the UK in the EU single market for goods but not for services, to ensure free trade with the bloc and an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
However, EU officials say that amounts to unacceptable “cherry-picking” of elements of membership in the bloc without accepting all the costs and responsibilities.
The Salzburg rebuff left May under siege from Brexit-supporting in her Conservative Party, who want her to seek a looser relationship based on a bare-bones free trade agreement that would leave Britain free to strike new deals around the world.
May is sticking by her plan. After a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, May’s Downing Street office said hers is “the only plan on the table ... and she remains confident of securing a deal with the EU.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative