Alexander – May has not made sufficient progress in talks with the EU or with her own Cabinet colleagues

Commenting on the end of the fourth round of Brexit negotiations today, Heidi Alexander MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“Despite David Davis’ warm words, it is clear that not enough progress has been made in the talks and we remain significantly short of an agreement that will allow us to move on to negotiating Britain’s future relationship with the EU, which we were scheduled to do next month. 

“Both the European Commission and the European Parliament have made clear today that real gaps remain between the two sides on all three major issues – on Northern Ireland; on citizens’ rights; and on payments.

“Not only has there not been sufficient progress in the negotiations with the EU, the Prime Minister seems unable to make sufficient progress in negotiations with her own Cabinet Ministers. Since her speech in Florence, Theresa May has been repeatedly contradicted by her closest colleagues.

“It’s high time the Government put some meat on the bones of Theresa May’s Florence speech, ended the Cabinet infighting, and came up with concrete proposals that might advance talks to the next stage.

“The longer we remain in negotiating limbo, the closer we get to a Brexit with a bad deal, or no deal at all, which would damage our economy and put jobs at risk.”

/ends

Notes to editors:

Cabinet divisions over transition:

The fundamental differences of opinion within the Cabinet and the Conservative Party over the terms of a transition have been exposed since the Prime Minister’s Florence speech. For example, Theresa May said that Britain will continue to be under the jurisdiction of the ECJ during the transition period: 

"The framework for this strictly time-limited period, which can be agreed under Article 50, would be the existing structure of EU rules and regulations."

Theresa May, Florence speech, 22 September 2017

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pms-florence-speech-a-new-era-of-cooperation-and-partnership-between-the-uk-and-the-eu

But David Davis and Iain Duncan Smith have contradicted this:

"We’ll get to that point when we actually negotiate the implementation period ... we’ll be outside the European law by then so this is a question of negotiation."

David Davis, BBC Andrew Marr Show, 24 September 2017

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/24091701.pdf

“I took from her words that [the implementation period] will not entail staying in the single market, nor staying under the jurisdiction of the ECJ.”

Iain Duncan Smith, The Telegraph, 22 September 2017

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/22/brexiteers-can-live-two-year-transition-must-strictly-limited/ 

Theresa May also said that free movement will continue during the transition period.

“[I]t will take time to put in place the new immigration system required to re-take control of the UK’s borders. So during the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK; but there will be a registration system – an essential preparation for the new regime.”
Theresa May, Florence speech, 22 September 2017

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pms-florence-speech-a-new-era-of-cooperation-and-partnership-between-the-uk-and-the-eu

But Boris Johnson then contradicted this during his visit to the Czech Republic.

“The relevant date for cutting the current model of free movement of persons and EU immigration into Britain is still 2019. We must be clear about this. The approval of the transitional period did not extend this deadline – that is, if I was right to understand the prime minister’s proposal.”
Boris Johnson, Radiožurnál radio station in the Czech Republic, 26 September 2017
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/26/boris-johnson-theresa-may-brexit-freedom-movement-transitional-period-florence