Labour brands May’s deal a ‘miserable failure’ but its own MPs are still divided

Kate Proctor
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the deal agreed by Cabinet failed all of its six tests: PA

Labour vowed to vote against Theresa May’s “miserable failure” of a Brexit deal today, but cracks remain within the party over whether it should fight to keep Britain inside the EU.

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the deal agreed by Cabinet failed all of its six tests, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain it is “a miserable failure of negotiation”.

He said: “We’ve read and analysed all 500 pages — it’s a miserable failure of negotiation. You’ve got huge detail on things like the backstop — that’s the bit the Government says it doesn’t intend to use — and then you’ve got just seven pages on the future relationship.”

Asked if he believed that Britain would be better off staying in the EU, Sir Keir told BBC radio: “It is nigh on impossible to replicate the benefits that we have got with the current arrangements.”

After Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s resignation, Sir Keir tweeted: “The PM’s Brexit deal has fallen at the first hurdle. When [she] makes her statement to Parliament she can’t stand up and say, ‘Nothing has changed’.”

It has emerged that the number of Labour MPs likely to vote with the Government is falling from 15 to as low as six. It was thought they may help pass Mrs May’s deal in Parliament.

Brexiteers Kate Hoey, Dennis Skinner and Graham Stringer are all said to have decided not to back the Prime Minister. One Labour MP said: “I think the group will get smaller. Some people who have been very vocal in the past have gone very quiet in the past few days. They are realising this is a really s*** deal.”

Labour’s Stoke Central MP Gareth Snell, and Don Valley MP Caroline Flint have previously said they might back a “reasonable” Brexit deal. Angela Smith MP began a petition asking Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum, and for Labour to campaign to remain.

She said: “Brexit in any form poses real harm to our country’s future. And with new dangers coming to light every day, we believe MPs should give the public the final say, which must include an option to remain in the EU.”

Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, which has 35 MPs in Westminster, said the deal would have a “devastating impact” on jobs.

The Lib Dems, who have 12 MPs, want a second referendum and have vowed to vote down the deal, as have Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. Lib Dem leader Vince Cable said the resignations showed “the Government is imploding”, adding: “It makes it clear that they are pretty certain they aren’t going to get this deal through Parliament.

“No sane person would contemplate crashing out and the massive disruption it would cause. It needs to go back to the public to pass judgment, with an option to remain in the EU. It’s the sensible, democratic way of dealing with it.”