Ahead of polls, Britain’s Labour Party brings out own Brexit plan; says it puts ‘UK first’

The central plank of the Labour strategy will be to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens living and working in the UK, said a spokesman for the main opposition party in the United Kingdom. The party also unveiled its own Brexit plan, saying it would scrap the ruling Conservative White Paper on the UK's exit from the European Union (EU) if it wins the general election in June.

There are an estimated 3 million citizens of other EU countries living in the UK, and about 1.2 million British expats living elsewhere in Europe.

Sir Kier Starmer.
Sir Kier Starmer. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

​Labour's shadow Brexit minister, Sir Kier Starmer, set out his party's Brexit plans for the upcoming June 8 general election in a speech in London.

"A Labour government will set out a new Brexit strategy. We will scrap the government's Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that reflect Labour values and our six tests," he said.

He said the White Paper will have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union as Labour know that is vital to protecting jobs and the economy.

"And we will approach negotiations in a completely different way to a Tory Brexit: negotiating for the many, not the few," he said.

"Where 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 stressed that while Labour had accepted Brexit, it wanted a deal that would prioritise jobs and workers' rights. He also said that unlike May, Labour would not walk away from the EU without securing a deal and that the party was clear that no deal would be a "bad deal".

Labour leader. Jeremy Corbyn.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photo courtesy: David holt

The Conservatives responded by saying that Jeremy Corbyn was the weak leader of a divided party and had no way to enforce the promises his party was making.

The Conservatives are hoping to take seats from Labour in the snap election scheduled for June 8 in areas which voted to leave the EU, including the Midlands, the north-east and north-west of England and across Wales.

Pro-EU campaigners, meanwhile, have launched a new bid to prevent a so-called "hard Brexit". The "key seat strategy" will attempt to unseat MPs the campaigners say back a "hard Brexit" and support those who oppose it, including Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem politicians.

Concerns are also growing that Brexit will divert the government’s attention from other pressing matters such as healthcare.