Labour would likely vote against any Brexit deal Theresa May secures with Brussels, a senior frontbencher has suggested.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said she “can’t see” the government coming back with an agreement that meets Labour’s six tests.
The tests include delivering the “exact same benefits” as the UK currently has as members of the single market and customs union, and “ensuring a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU”.
Speaking on Friday, Ms Thornberry said Labour would not “agree” to an eventual deal – nor back a “no-deal” exit.
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She told the Financial Times: “I can’t see them coming back with a deal that is going to meet our six tests and I can’t see them coming back with a deal that will unite the Tory party…
“We’re either going to have a general election in the autumn or we’re going to have it in the spring.”
She added: “Even if [the government] comes back in October, November, and they say, ‘this flimsy bit of paper is what you’re going to have to agree to, otherwise there’ll be no-deal’. We’re not going to agree to either of those.”
A Labour source told Sky News: “Our policy is unchanged, but like a lot of shadow frontbenchers Ms Thornberry is pessimistic about the prospects of this government negotiating a good deal.”
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It comes as Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab held a phone call with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
He said the pair “reiterated our willingness to devote the necessary time and energy to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion”.
They were “closing in on workable solutions to the outstanding issues”, Mr Raab added, but cautioned there were still “some substantial difference we need to resolve”.
Ministers are hoping to finalise a deal by October, or December at the latest – to give enough time for the UK and EU27’s national parliaments to debate and pass it before exit day on 29 March 2019.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Tuesday a deal was “doable” by then, calling the six to eight weeks left “quite a large time scale”.