Umunna – Leaked European Parliament report shows Government’s rhetoric is colliding with reality

A leaked European Parliament resolution on the EU’s Brexit negotiating position has blown a hole in the Government’s rhetoric the day Article 50 was triggered.

The leaked resolution, which is designed to make clear to the European Commission and the member states the European Parliament’s red lines on Brexit, made clear that: 

  • The UK will not be given even similar benefits as being in the Single Market and Customs Union, let alone the exact same benefits, as had been promised.
  • The UK is unable to start negotiating trade deals with non-EU countries in advance of its withdrawal.
  • Parallelism is out: substantial progress has to be made on the withdrawal agreement before talks can start on transition or future trade, and a future trade deal can only be agreed once the withdrawal agreement is agreed
  • The EU expects a financial payment as part of the withdrawal agreement.
  • A future trade deal would need to include equivalence in key areas including competition, trade and social policy, which means a bonfire of regulations is incompatible with a new UK-EU FTA.
  • There will be no sectoral deals that replicate the exact same benefits as being in the single market and customs union
  • There could be a transitional deal, but for a maximum of three years, during which period the ECJ would have legal authority.

Any Brexit deal would have to be ratified by the European Parliament, as well as by the member states.

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“Before the Prime Minister had even sat down, the first leak from Europe has blown a hole in the Government’s complacent vision of Brexit. 

“It lays bare the risks for Britain that lie ahead in the negotiations, not least the difficulties facing the Government in trying to deliver on their pledge of getting a trade deal that delivers the ‘exact same benefits’ as we have today. 

“Today is the start of the Government’s rosy rhetoric colliding with reality. It’s over Ministers and their hard Brexit cheerleaders to now keep all of the promises they have made to the British people, who will be understandably disappointed if they don’t.”


Notes to editors:

Open Britain has published a background note on this:

The European Parliament resolution can be seen here: