Sunday shows: PM must stand up to MPs with no deal fantasy, says Miliband

The Andrew Marr Show

In an energetic appearance, Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband stressed the importance of securing a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, confirmed Labour would be “minded to support” a deal and called on Boris Johnson to “stand up to a small bunch of people in his party whose fantasy it has always been to have no deal”.

  • Asked whether any deal is better than no deal: “We need a deal… Our request of the Prime Minister is very simple: stand up for the national interest, don’t stand up for people in your party who’ve always wanted no deal, wrongly in my view.”
  • On giving way on fishing: “Both sides have to give way. There’s got to be give and take on both sides. We’ve got to be tough in relation to fish, we’ve got to get the best deal we possibly can for our fishing fleets.”
  • On being ‘tied to the single market in perpetuity’ for a deal: “I don’t accept that portrayal… We should maintain high standards into the future.”
  • On whether the PM can rely on Labour support for a deal: “We’ll look at the detail. We’ve said we’re minded to support it.”
  • On Johnson’s promises: “The one thing I think we can say about Boris Johnson is he talks out of both sides of his mouth. This is a man who said at the general election… he had a deal ready to go to protect supply chains.”
  • He added: “This is a man who is cavalier with our national interest. He is playing Russian roulette with jobs and livelihoods… I think this is ideological. I say we don’t deregulate our way to economic success.”
  • Put to him that Labour wants to ‘have its cake and eat it’: “No, I’d say negotiate a tough deal in relation to fish, make sure the level playing field provisions are fair, but for goodness’ sake… don’t cause terrible damage to the fight against crime and terrorism.”
  • He added: “No deal is not an end point. We’ll go through all the pain, all the economic anguish. It’s not a long-term sustainable position to have tariffs with our biggest market. We’re going to have to go back into negotiations, and then where will we be? We’ll be in a weaker position. It makes no sense.”
  • On getting a deal: “The rational side of me says there will be a deal. Because the PM is not a wholly irrational man, he must see that’s in our national interest. He’s just got to stand up to a small bunch of people in his party whose fantasy it has always been to have no deal.”

On the chances of EU-UK talks continuing, Dominic Raab said: “The bar is quite high for us to be able to keep talking.” He said it would required “political level commitment” to movement on the key issues of the “level playing field, control of our laws and fisheries”.

On the same question, Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin replied: “I don’t know but I hope so. I fervently hope so.” He said agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol suggested there is “capacity” for a deal.

Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Steve Reed described the current Brexit situation as “surreal” and “just crazy” and highlighted that Boris Johnson said a year ago he had an ‘oven-ready’ deal.

  • On Brexit talks: “The last thing we need is no deal… It’s one year and one day exactly since Boris Johnson won an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons promising to ‘get Brexit done’ with an oven-ready Brexit deal.”
  • On remaining disagreements: “The situation we’re facing now is Boris Johnson claiming to have 98% of this deal done now, just 2% of it left to go. It must be possible to find a way to bridge that remaining 2%.”
  • On the UK position: “One of the sticking points seems to be Boris Johnson wanting the powers to do something he claims he doesn’t want to do… the powers to water down employment rights and environmental standards.”
  • On Labour’s position: “Labour doesn’t want to see that happen. The country doesn’t want to see that happen so there is a deal to be done here.”
  • On the level playing field: “Economies are interdependent so we have to take shared decisions if we’re going to trade with each other and taking a shared decision is not a breach of sovereignty… We have to get this deal over the line.”
  • He added: “These are things he claims he doesn’t want to do anyway so it shouldn’t really be a sticking point. There is a deal to be done.”
  • On the prospect of no deal: “This is a surreal position we’ve got ourselves in… He is preparing to sacrifice the British economy over something he doesn’t even want to do. It’s just crazy.”
  • Asked whether Leave voters would find acceptable leaving with a deal meaning that the UK has “to stick to their [the EU] definition of what standards are” in perpetuity: “It would be a shared decision.”
  • On talks today: “There’s a deal to be done. It needs to be done today. We could just be hours away from it. Let’s just end the uncertainty of the last four and a half years and move forward.”
  • Asked what Labour would do to get a deal: “It was Boris Johnson who said he had an oven-ready deal. It wasn’t the Labour Party that said we had an oven-ready deal.”
  • Asked whether it is wrong to relax Covid restrictions over Christmas: “We’ll get an assessment based on the data on the 16th of this month and we’ll need to see where we are then but the key thing is we need to follow the science.”

Asked whether Brexit talks could extend beyond the deadline today, Dominic Raab said he “can’t close the door” on that possibility but admitted that “there is still a long way to go” to reach an agreement.

The Foreign Secretary told those watching this morning: “If we’re 99% there on the outstanding issues, you wouldn’t want to leave any stone unturned, but I think it’s quite a high bar.”

He dismissed a compromise over fishing, arguing: “What you’re not going to do is allow a decade to go by with us only controlling a fraction of our fisheries… Some of the proposals and suggestions put to us are pretty outlandish frankly.”

Spanish foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said she is having “difficulty understanding” why the UK is refusing to accept EU demands on fishing and warned that a no-deal exit would be “extremely negative for our economies”.

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