Sunday shows round-up: Starmer, Benn, Lammy and Cooper on Brexit

The Andrew Marr Show

Keir Starmer expressed many of the same views set out in his Fabians conference speech on Saturday, including that delaying Brexit by extending Article 50 is now inevitable and that Labour’s policy is in its ‘third phase’. He also conceded that any Brexit deal at this stage would “probably” require a backstop.

  • On Theresa May’s deal: “I have said for two years we will faithfully look at any deal that is brought back, which is what we did on Tuesday.”
  • On compromise and cross-party talks: “If she… said, my red lines have gone, I’m not going to hold a gun to your heads about no deal, that would shift the position incredibly.”
  • On the backstop: “At this stage any deal probably does require a backstop, and we’ve got to recognise that… There are problems with this backstop and we have got to recognise that. But because we are in this stage of the exercise, nearly two years in, the chances now of a deal that doesn’t have a backstop are very, very slim.”
  • On extending Article 50: “It’s extremely difficult to see how the Prime Minister can achieve what needs to be achieved in 68 days and therefore I think it is inevitable Article 50 is going to be extended. And the blame with that lies with the Prime Minister.”

Hilary Benn, Labour MP for Leeds Central and Brexit select committee chair:

  • On reports that in his office on Monday “backbench plotters” will meet to give control of the Brexit process to the Commons: “MPs doing their job are not plotters, they are trying to sort out the mess the Prime Minister has created. We are facing a national crisis and there are many MPs in the House of Commons whose first priority is to ensure that we do not leave without a deal. And therefore finding ways when we come to table amendments this week and debate on the 29th January how we stop that.”
  • On accusations that Commons officials have acted with bias: “To attack House of Commons clerks and suggest they’re part of a conspiracy is a disgrace. Our clerks are resolutely impartial.”
  • On breaking the deadlock: “I think we have to compromise because parliament is deadlocked and the Prime Minister can’t get around that.”
  • On indicative votes: “I’m in favour of parliament voting on a series of options to see if there’s one that can command majority support.”

Ridge on Sunday

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham:

  • On securing a Brexit deal: “I would prefer a soft Brexit, somewhere like Norway, to Theresa May’s botched deal… I could only vote for it on the basis that there was a final say referendum.”
  • On Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit position: “He’s moving the goalposts and I’ve been very clear on that… It seems to me there is no point in continuing with votes of no confidence, throwing darts and missing the board… I think that Jeremy has been hedging.”
  • On a Labour split: “There is a small group in our party who are so frustrated, who have so much grievance, the fear is that they are going to go off and form another party.  I personally reject that but the danger is, just like 1983, a new party built around basically a relationship with Europe keeps the Labour Party out of power for a generation.”

Pienaar’s Politics

Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP for Denton and Reddish and Shadow Local Government Secretary:

  • On Labour talks with May: “In terms of opening the door to meaningful negotiations with us, all she’s got to do is give us a verbal commitment that she will do everything possible to prevent a no deal.”

Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley:

  • On the way forward for Brexit: “Get ‘no deal’ off the table, but get Remain off the table as well, so we can focus on what needs to be done. There’s too much shenanigans, too much process, not enough substance going on amongst politicians.”

Westminster Hour

Yvette Cooper, Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, who has a new bill and an amendment (with Nick Boles) to take ‘no deal’ off the table:

  • On her bill to allow parliament to demand an extension of Article 50: “If we’re still in this paralysis by the end of February, we just have to be sensible and recognise that we may need more time… The plan is to put forward a simple amendment to the Prime Minister’s Plan B motion that there was parliamentary time for [the bill].”
  • On the length of Article 50 extension: “It proposes an extension until the end of the year, but that’s amendable.”
  • On support for her bill: “I’ve talked to the [Labour] frontbench… My understanding is that there are government ministers who also want this bill to pull through.”

Jenny Chapman, Labour MP for Darlington and shadow Brexit minister:

  • On Labour supporting Cooper’s bill: “That’s a decision for Nick Brown and the shadow cabinet… I think there will be widespread for this in parliament.”

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