MP Sarah Champion under fire over no-deal Brexit stance

By Gareth Dennison | 19/07/2019

MP Sarah Champion under fire over no-deal Brexit stance

SARAH Champion saying she would accept a no-deal Brexit shows Europe how Labour is lurching to the right, an MEP said.

Rotherham MP Ms Champion told the BBC’s Politics Live on Tuesday: “The country wants us to leave and, for our democracy, I think we have to leave. 

“So therefore if it came to it, I would take no deal if that meant we could leave, because we have to leave.”

Lib Dem MEP Shaffaq Mohammed, who lives in Tinsley and was elected in May, said the comments had not gone unnoticed in Europe.

He said: “It’s hugely unhelpful and disappointing that Sarah Champion has taken this most radical of routes.

“The Labour Party has been seen like the Lib Dems, as central and progressive, but people are horrified to see them moving towards the right.

“A no-deal Brexit will mean a slump in the economy. Europe is ready for no deal. They are used to receiving goods from other ports and have the processes in place. We are not ready.

“The poorest in society, the youth services, job opportunities for young people, that will be affected. The likes of Sarah Champion won’t be affected in the same way.”

Labour has consistently stated that no deal would be devastating for jobs and the economy, and has shifted position in recent weeks towards trying to stop Brexit.

Ms Champion, who campaigned for remain in 2016, voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal three times and Tory MP Mark Harper, also on Politics Live, said on the show that he could not understand her comments.

He told her: “You just said you’d prefer to do no deal than not leave, but you weren’t prepared to vote for the deal you had the chance to vote for three times.”

Ms Champion responded: “There were so many opportunities for Theresa May to put in things which didn’t need to go back to the EU, which would have guaranteed workers’ rights, environmental rights, equality rights.

“It’s poker. I hoped she would listen to what the Labour frontbench were saying and move.”

Cllr Allen Cowles, newly transferred from UKIP to the Brexit Party on Rotherham Borough Council, said he was “gobsmacked” by Ms Champion’s comments.

“These comments are surely about votes and little else,” he added. “After voting against Mrs May’s deal, which she described as a game of poker or who blinks first, it’s a totally cavalier approach to a very serious issue.”

Council leader Cllr Chris Read warned that no deal’s impact on Rotherham would be “immediate and dramatic” — increasing prices, costing jobs and leading to more public services cuts.

He added: “It’s a damning indictment of the failure of the Conservative government that the possibility is even on the agenda. 

“I hope MPs on all sides will do everything they can to avoid the worst case scenario that Sarah described.”


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