Labour’s shadow Justice Secretary indicated the party would be willing to re-enter talks with the EU to “repair” the Brexit deal.
David Lammy criticised Boris Johnson’s agreement with the European Union to govern Britain’s post-Brexit commercial ties with the bloc.
According to the Labour frontbencher, one of the main causes of the country’s interruption in goods deliveries is the UK’s exit from the EU. Mr Lammy told the BBC that a Labour government would try to reopen trade discussions with Brussels in order to renegotiate the present trade deal.
“There are challenges for hauliers, of course, right across Europe,” he said. “But let’s be clear: there are no queues in Spain, in Germany or France.”
“So, what’s the difference?” Asked Lammy?. “The difference is that we exited the European Union on Boris’s deal we’re out of a customs union, the cabotage system that was set up that allowed drivers to come here and go back with goods, and the tariffs that we now have mean the drivers aren’t coming.”
When asked how a Labour administration would enhance the arrangement, Mr Lammy replied, “This is his deal.” We’ll have to figure out how to rectify his deal when we get to government.”
“Let’s be clear, shortages right across the country, shortages of fruit pickers, shortages of builders, shortages in terms of lorry drivers.”
“All of that is down to Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Priti Patel, Dominic Rabb and the promises they made to the British people.” Mr Lammy was later picked up on the fact that Labour had voted to approve Mr Johnson’s EU trade pact.
“This was his deal. We hold him to account for his deal,” the Labour frontbencher said.
“What it means is – why would drivers come here, when they are going back without goods, when they have got to pay tariffs? They would rather be in another country in Europe.”
Brexit opponents have blamed Britain’s exit from the EU in part for the chronic shortages of HGV drivers hurting the British supply chain. During the lockdown, a substantial number of European lorry drivers returned to their countries and have either opted not to return to the UK or have been hampered by the increased border red tape.
Brexiteers, on the other hand, have downplayed the relationship with Brexit, pointing out that other EU countries, such as Poland and Germany, are also experiencing shortages.
Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy plan a tour of European countries to re-establish Labour’s position on Brexit and the EU’s future relationship. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said that while Brexit was completed, the UK and the EU did not need to have a “needlessly antagonistic relationship,” speaking at a fringe event hosted by the EU Delegation to the UK at Labour’s party conference in Brighton.
“We think that is a nonsense,” she said.
Labour will “seek strong close bilateral relations with our friends and neighbours, particularly starting with Ireland given the challenges that we face on the island of Ireland to ensure that we never again use the Good Friday Agreement as a bargaining chip,” according to Ms Nandy.
She stated that her tour alongside her party’s leader would focus on “restoring and repairing” ties as well as looking forward.