UK Politics

Brexit: Labour warns against 'chaotic' no deal outcome

Anneliese Dodds Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Anneliese Dodds is the new shadow chancellor

The last thing UK business needs in the current economic climate is a "chaotic exit" from EU trading rules, Labour's new shadow chancellor has warned.

Anneliese Dodds urged ministers not to put "ideology over national interest".

The UK has left the EU but has given itself until 31 December to negotiate a trade deal, until which time most EU rules will still apply.

New Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said it was "a mistake" to put that date into legislation.

Downing Street has insisted the Brexit timetable remains unchanged.

Ms Dodds, who served in her predecessor John McDonnell's shadow Treasury team, warned against the "kind of chaotic exit that has always been a threat under this Conservative government".

She called for "desperately needed" co-operation with the EU and other international bodies on the coronavirus crisis.

Ms Dodds, who represents the Oxford East constituency, was an MEP before entering the Westminster Parliament in 2017.

In an interview with the PA news agency, she said: "Very sadly we've seen in areas like provision of protective equipment, testing capacity, ventilators and so forth, what happens when there isn't that co-ordination and when international systems aren't necessarily working in the way that they should be working."

'Key questions'

She added: "I think we've seen that ideological approach from government towards the EU in particular, so I really hope that that changes because we don't really have the luxury currently I think to be indulging in a partisan approach to these matters."

She backed Sir Keir Starmer's stance on Brexit, which saw the Labour Party fight the 2019 election on a promise to renegotiate a Brexit deal with Brussels and then put it to a referendum.

"Now clearly we didn't win the last general election, we have left the EU," she told PA.

But the "key questions" were now about how jobs can be protected "in a very difficult economic climate", she added.

Talks continuing

The last thing UK business would want was "a kind of chaotic approach to trade coming at the end of the year after this very, very difficult period that we're going through economically now," said Ms Dodds.

The UK's chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, has said he wanted to "reassure everyone" contacts were continuing between the UK and EU during the coronavirus outbreak.

He added: "We have remained in touch throughout, both sides have exchanged legal texts, and last week we had a series of conference calls to explore and clarify technicalities."

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