TUC general secretary: Theresa May’s Brexit wishlist is a “letter to Santa”

11th September, 2017 8:31 am

The head of the TUC will today lambast Theresa May’s negotiating position on Brexit as a “letter to Santa” as the workers’ body demands Britain stays in the trading bloc.

Frances O’Grady will tell all parties not to “box themselves in” as she calls for the issues of “jobs, rights and livelihoods” to be put first.

It is O’Grady’s criticisms of May that will stand out, however, when she delivers her keynote speech to Trades Union Congress in Brighton today.

She will accuse the weakened prime minister of putting Tory party politics before the national interest while trying to tell voters she can “get whatever she wants”.

“The prime minister’s top priority should be to defend Britain’s best interests. Not stop the Conservative Party falling apart,” she is expected to say.

“The clock is ticking and the government still hasn’t come up with a proper plan. The prime minister is sticking to the same old script that she can get whatever she wants. That we can all have all the same benefits of the single market without playing by the rules. This isn’t a grown-up negotiating position. It’s a letter to Santa.”

The intervention of O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, comes weeks after Labour carried out a significant shift on its single market position following pressure from various major trade unions, who vehemently oppose a hard Brexit or – in some cases – leaving the EU at all.

Now Labour policy is to try to keep Britain in the trading bloc even after the negotiating period is over.

“My challenge to all political parties is this: When it comes to Brexit, don’t box yourselves in. Don’t rule anything out. Keep all options on the table. And put jobs, rights and livelihoods first,” O’Grady is due to say today.

“We have set out our tests for the Brexit deal working people need. Staying in the single market and customs union would deliver it.”

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