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UK: Parliament not a ‘passive bystander’ on Brexit – Labour’s Chuka Umunna

Labour’s Chuka Umunna

Parliament is not a “passive bystander” and must be listened to, according to a senior Labour MP who has helped set up a cross-party group to fight against a “hard Brexit”.

Chuka Umunna told Sky News’ All Out Politics the all-party parliamentary group on EU relations wants to “ensure we get the best deal through this Brexit process for our constituents”.

He said “all options” should be on the table in exit talks, including staying in the single market.

The Streatham MP said the result of the General Election means MPs and peers have an “active role” to play.

He said: “Parliament in this is not a passive bystander.

“We have an active role to play and will have the ability to vote on whatever deal the Government comes forward with at the end of the process.”

Mr Umunna said the aim of the group was to avoid an “extreme job-destroying” Brexit that could turn Britain into the “sweatshop of Europe”.

The cross-party group could cause problems for Prime Minister Theresa May as she works to steer Brexit legislation through the Commons, relying on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party.

As well as working together in Parliament, it will collect evidence from business groups, trade unions and charities about their views on Britain’s EU exit.

The MPs in the group believe Parliament cannot be “spectators” accepting information from ministers, but should be “active players” in the process, independently seeking out information to inform voting decisions on the deal the Government manages to negotiate.

Mr Umunna, who recently led a Labour revolt over Brexit by calling for the UK to stay in the single market, and prominent Remain campaigner and Conservative MP Anna Soubry, are the group’s co-chairmen.

The vice-chairmen are Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson, the SNP’s international affairs spokesman Stephen Gethins, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas and Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards.

Mr Umunna told Sky’s Adam Boulton the group was guided by three principles.

“One, everybody thinks we’ve got to leave with a deal; leaving without a deal would be appalling,” he said.

“Secondly, we think all options should be kept on the table through the process of the negotiations.

“Thirdly, we want to see the UK have the strongest possible relationship with the EU at the end of the process. That’s best for Britain and good for the world.”

He added that the group was not about being anti-Jeremy Corbyn or anti-Mrs May.

“This is the biggest issue which is going to come and hit us in a generation, which is going to determine the opportunities of future generations,” Mr Umunna said.

“If we put party politics in the way of making sure we get the best deal, we will never be forgiven by our constituents.

“We’ve got to put the national interest and our constituents first here.”

Source: SkyNews

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