Shortly after being elected Labour leader last month, Sir Keir told Andrew Marr that the Government “should extend” the Brexit transition period “if it’s necessary”. A month later on LBC he appeared to backtrack, claiming “I’ve not called for a pause”. Next on Sunday, shadow Cabinet Office Minister junked this and said the Government should “expand the timetable”, adding “that means taking the time that is necessary”. Guido has compiled the timeline to help you keep track…
5 April 2020 Sir Keir Starmer: “Well, they should extend it if it’s necessary to do so”
11 May 2020 Sir Keir Starmer “The government says it’s going to get negotiations and a deal done by the end of the year. I’ve always thought that’s tight and pretty unlikely, but we’re going to hold them to that and see how they get on. They say they’re going to do it… I would seek to ensure that the negotiations were completed as quickly as possible… I’ve not called for a pause because the government says it’s going to get it done by the end of the year.”
17 May 2020 Rachel Reeves: “We’re saying they mustn’t rush this and if they are not going to a secure deal, we mustn’t crash out without a deal, so that means taking the time that is necessary but it’s up to government to show that they can deliver the promises that they have made to the British people… that is getting a good deal and a good deal by the end of this year. If they are not in a position to do that then they need to come back and expand the timetable.”
Has Reeves gone off script, or has Labour returned to its old Brexit flip-flopping that the country loved so much?