UK Labour Move towards a softer Brexit welcome

Issued 27 August 2017

The Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin TD has welcomed the policy shift by the British Labour Party on Brexit, but highlighted that even those softer arrangements would be disruptive to our island, and that the Conservative Government remains committed to a hard Brexit.

Deputy Howlin said:

“This is a welcome development today by the British Labour Party and their Brexit spokesperson Sir Keir Starmer.

“The acknowledgement of the need for an extensive transition period of up to 4 years where the UK would stay in the single market and customs union is welcome. It will provide an important stimulus to the ongoing debate in the UK on what their future relationship with the EU will be. I hope the UK Government will respond favourably to this development.

“However, the UK will need to go much further than this if we are to avoid a hard border on our island, and huge disruption to trade and economic relationships between our islands.

"The reality is that UK membership of some kind in the customs union and single market is the only solution that will work for the island of Ireland.

"Ongoing membership of some form of customs union after a transition period as proposed by Starmer would be beneficial to Ireland but still disruptive.

"I am hopeful that this move by the British Labour Party will now spark a more extensive debate in the UK on what kind of Brexit should happen.

"I look forward to engaging with Sir Keir and his colleagues in the British Labour Party on these proposals at their annual conference in September.

"It is now critical that the Irish Government and other Irish political parties continue to communicate to our colleagues in the UK the need for as soft a Brexit as possible to protect both economic and social arrangements and the Peace Process on our island."