Responding to a speech by Keir Starmer, outlining Labour’s approach to Brexit negotiations if the Party wins the general election in June, Molly Scott Cato, Bristol’s Green MEP and the Party’s speaker on EU relations, said:
“A softer and more distinctive approach from Labour is welcome; to date Labour have danced to the Tories extreme and reckless Brexit tune, voting to trigger Article 50 without fighting for any conditions and effectively handing Theresa May a blank cheque.
“Greens would go much further than Labour and offer guarantees in areas not even mentioned by Keir Starmer .
“We would not only guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals but defend free movement, especially for the young. We want young people to continue to enjoy the rights enjoyed by their parents and grandparents – the right to travel, study and work across Europe.
“Like Labour, we would ditch the great repeal bill, but replace it with more than just an EU rights and protections bill. We will push for a Great Reform Bill, to deliver a fair and proportional election system, reform of the House of Lords and a written constitution. Greens believe that the best way to protect jobs and workers’ rights is by remaining in the single market.
“Of course jobs and the economy are critically important in the negotiations with the EU, but by prioritising these above all else, there is a danger the environment gets side-lined. With the Tories plotting a bonfire of regulations that protect our air and water quality, safeguard valuable wildlife habitats and help tackle climate change, we need a new Environmental Protection Act and a new Clean Air Act to ensure environmental protections are maintained and enhanced.
“Labour’s call for parliament to be given a truly meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal is welcome, but their reluctance to give British people the same right shows a disregard for democracy. Greens believe that the people of the UK must be given an opportunity to accept or reject the future that is on offer at the end of the two-year Article 50 process through a ratification referendum.”