Labour is demanding another delay to the Brexit process if a trade deal is not secured by the end of June.
Jeremy Corbyn has tabled an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would extend the transition period until 2023 in the absence of a comprehensive agreement.
Boris Johnson has pledged that the UK will formally leave the bloc on January 31, and his thumping Commons majority following the election should guarantee he can make good on the vow.
But he has also ruled out any lengthening of the implementation phase – essentially a ‘standstill’ where the country is still bound by Brussels rules – beyond this year.
If passed, Labour’s change would force the government to add two extra years to the transition to avoid departing on basic WTO terms.
However, the amendment is doomed to failure given the Tories‘ dominant position in Parliament, and could raise alarm on Labour benches that the party will yet again be seen as blocking Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured at his London home last month) has tabled an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would extend the transition period until 2023 in the absence of a comprehensive agreement
If passed, Labour’s change would force the government to add two extra years to the transition to avoid departing on basic WTO term
Mr Corbyn’s muddled EU stance has been seen as one of the main reasons why Labour’s ‘Red Wall’ of Leave-leaning northern seats crumbled on December 12, handing Mr Johnson victory.
An explanatory statement on Labour’s amendment reads: ‘This new clause would restore the role for Parliament in deciding whether to extend transition to avoid a WTO (World Trade Organisation) Brexit.’
Mr Johnson has insisted he believes a trade deal with the EU can be agreed before the transition period expires.
But critics fear the 11-month timetable is too tight and could lead to Brexit without a UK-EU trade deal in place.
Labour’s amendment, tabled in the name of its outgoing leader, states: ‘A minister of the Crown must seek to secure agreement in the joint committee to a single decision to extend the implementation period by two years, in accordance with Article 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement unless one or more condition in subsection (2) is met.
‘Those conditions are: (a) it is before 15 June 2020; (b) an agreement on the future trade relationship has been concluded; (c) the House of Commons has passed a motion in the form set out in subsection (3) and the House of Lords has considered a motion to take note of the Government’s intention not to request an extension.’