Theresa May's government heading for 'kamikaze' Brexit, TUC boss warns

General Secretary calls for 'all options to remain on the table' for final Brexit deal

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Sunday 10 September 2017 15:07
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Frances O'Grady says the loss of income is ‘the difference between heating or eating, between struggling or saving, and between getting by or getting on’ for millions of British workers
Frances O'Grady says the loss of income is ‘the difference between heating or eating, between struggling or saving, and between getting by or getting on’ for millions of British workers

Trade union leaders have accused the Government of pursuing a “kamikaze” Brexit amid calls for “all options” to remain on the table including staying in the single market.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said there had been a “criminal lack of preparation” for the Brexit talks and ministers had given little consideration to the impact of the divorce on workers rights.

The trade union movement called for Britain to remain in the EU trade agreements during the transition period, and left the door open to staying in the single market after March 2019.

Speaking on the first day of the TUC annual congress, Ms O’Grady said: “Over the last year, the government’s criminal lack of preparation for March 2019 has become clear.

“They’ve published no proper assessment about the impact on industries.

“No action plan to protect jobs and rights. And there’s still no realistic negotiating strategy.

“The clock is ticking towards what I can only call a kamikaze Brexit.”

She urged Theresa May’s party not to “box themselves in” on the negotiations and to ignore the voices of Tory Eurosceptics after nearly 40 Conservatives signed a letter pushing the Government to pursue a hard Brexit.

Ms O’Grady said she wanted “all options on the table” - including staying within the single market - for the final deal.

It comes as Labour vowed to vote against the Government’s flagship Brexit legislation - sometimes known as the Repeal Bill - in the Commons on Monday after a dramatic shift in its stance towards the withdrawal from the EU.

After months of uncertainty, the party committed to pursuing membership of the single market and customs union during a transition period after the Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under pressure to sack MPs who defy the order to vote against the EU (Withdrawal) Bill or risk defying his party's stance on a softer Brexit.

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