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EMILY THORNBERRY was appointed yesterday to lead Labour’s efforts to scrap pro-privatisation rules and to protect workers’ rights as Britain separates from the EU.
The shadow foreign secretary was given a second role as shadow Brexit secretary after PM Theresa May created a new Department for Exiting the European Union headed by David Davis.
Barry Gardiner will shadow Tory International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. He had been shadow energy and climate change secretary but the department was abolished by the Tories last week.
A source close to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will formally trigger Britain’s break with Brussels, should only be implemented once a negotiating position has been agreed.
Setting out Labour’s priorities, he said: “Labour will be putting forward clear agenda items for those negotiations.
“For example, enforced liberalisation that exists under the EU Treaty … in any negotiation about access to the single market, those things would need to be part of the negotiating agenda from Labour’s point of view.
“Then there’s the issue of employment rights and action in the labour market and undercutting and pay and conditions through the EU.”
Labour has not ruled out the possibility of a second EU referendum or another “form of democratic accountability” to approve negotiations such as a vote in Parliament, the source added.
But he said: “Right now, Jeremy Corbyn thinks it’s important to respect the [referendum] result and focus on the negotiations and how there can be protections in the labour market and employment and social protections built into those negotiations — for both EU citizens working and living in Britain and British citizens working and living in the EU.”
The Green Party appointed MEP Molly Scott Cato as spokeswoman for European Union relations.
She said: “The referendum campaign may be over but this is just the start of a crucial fight to ensure that we get the best deal possible for Britain in the negotiations to come.
“The Green Party will be holding the government to account every step of the way — demanding protection of free movement and the single market, guarantees for the rights of non-British nationals already living here, keeping minimum EU standards for workers’ rights and environmental legislation, and protecting funding to improve opportunities for young people.”
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