Labour’s ‘Bespoke’ Brexit Plan Sparks Tory Outrage

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has outlined plans to enhance the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, aiming for closer regulatory alignment in key sectors while maintaining Brexit commitments, a move that has provoked strong reactions from the Conservative Party. Here’s the full story.

Brexit Meltdown

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In a surprise move which has already sent the majority of the UK’s right-wing, Brexit-supporting press into near meltdown, Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, has made the first tentative statements about her party’s plans for EU relations should, as is expected, Labour win the upcoming election.

Limited Trade Deal Improvements

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In a move that will no doubt anger many in Labour who seek closer EU ties, Reeves stated that the party would only seek to improve some aspects of the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

No Brexit Reversal

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Reeves made clear the party’s commitment not to reverse Brexit, though indicated that Labour’s policy would signify a more collaborative approach to EU relations than the current government’s stance.

Significant Rhetoric Shift

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Reeves’ comments in a Financial Times interview mark a significant shift in Labour’s rhetoric on Brexit.

Avoiding Brexit Details

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In the run-up to the upcoming election, the party has avoided detailed discussions on Brexit so as not to scare away potential Brexiteers who may be considering voting for the party, especially in pro-Leave constituencies.

Resetting Britain’s Image

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Reeves told the Financial Times she would seek to “reset” Britain’s global image, stating, “We would look to improve our trading relationship with Europe and do trade deals around the world.”

Bespoke Chemical Arrangements

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She stressed that closer alignment could benefit industries such as chemicals, to which Reeves proposed a “bespoke” arrangement to alleviate the burden of dual registration requirements for chemical products.

Vote Leave Reasons

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Reeves stated, “I don’t think anyone voted leave because they were not happy that chemicals regulations were the same across Europe. When my constituency voted leave it was purely because of immigration.”

Streamlining Regulations

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This approach would aim to streamline regulatory processes, reducing costs for UK businesses, many of which have been negatively impacted by Brexit.

Professional Qualifications Focus

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Reeves also highlighted the need to enhance mutual recognition of professional qualifications, particularly for the financial services sector, a vital part of the UK economy

Brexit Not Beneficial

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She noted that many in the sector had “not regarded Brexit as being a great opportunity for their businesses.”

Better Terms for Services

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By seeking better terms for financial services workers, Labour aims to mitigate some of the adverse impacts of Brexit on the City of London.

Amend Brexit Deal

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Reeves mentioned that the current Brexit deal “pretty much excluded” services and financial services, necessitating amendments to better support these vital economic sectors.

Conservative Outrage

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Conservatives, long defined by their almost pathological distrust and dislike of the EU, were quickly up in arms at these seemingly small reforms to the current deal.

Frost’s Response

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David Frost, the UK’s former chief Brexit negotiator and current Conservative peer, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “Except for free movement, people didn’t vote against any single subset of single market rules – they voted against having the rules set in Brussels.”

Cautious EU Optimism

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Conversely, the European Commission has been cautiously optimistic in its response, no doubt seeking an improved relationship with a Labour government following an openly adversarial relationship they had with the Conservatives.

EU Cherry-Picking Concerns

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However, diplomats in the EU are wary of the UK “cherry picking” parts of their relationship.

EU Commission Statement

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An EU Commission spokesperson stated, “We have existing agreements with the UK, those agreements are the ones that actually organise our relationship with the UK, and we have always said that these agreements had to be implemented in full and comprehensively.”

No Campaign Comments

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“We’re not going to be commenting on every comment that is made in the context of the UK electoral campaign – let me make that absolutely clear. We have an existing situation based on agreements. This is what organises our relationship with the UK. We have discussion fora to manage the relationship and it is in that context we discuss any issue that can come up.”

Limited Renegotiation Scope

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Despite Labour’s ambitions, the scope for renegotiating the Brexit deal remains constrained, as any substantial changes would require the UK to comply with EU regulations, something Labour has pledged to avoid.

Conservative Criticism

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Unsurprisingly, the Conservative Party has been profoundly and loudly critical of Labour’s approach, suggesting that it would lead to the UK being drawn back into the EU’s regulatory orbit.

Abandoning Brexit Benefits

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A Conservative source told the Telegraph, “Labour are taking no trouble to hide the fact they want to tie Britain into the EU’s orbit – overturning the referendum result and abandoning all the benefits of Brexit, including trade deals with 70 countries and 2,000 ripped-up EU laws.”

Conservative Campaign Focus

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This narrative has been central to the Conservative campaign, which has focused on portraying Labour as a threat to the supposed gains of Brexit.

Pragmatic Proposals

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Despite the rabid Conservative response, Labour’s proposals reflect a pragmatic approach to addressing some of the profound economic challenges that Brexit poses while respecting the referendum result.

Enhancing Trade Relations

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By targeting specific sectors and advocating for regulatory alignment, Labour aims to enhance the UK-EU trade relationship without rejoining the single market or customs union.

EU Scepticism

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However, whether Labour’s proposals have any chance of success with an EU that is, understandably, incredibly sceptical of the UK’s intentions remains to be seen.

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The post Labour’s Reeves Signals Need for Better Relationship With EU, Sparking Tory Backlash first appeared on Edge Media.

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Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.

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