Labour MEPs warn hasty Brexit will be disastrous

Labour MEPs will warn the European Parliament that Brexit will be the “mother of all divorce cases” and will be “disastrous” if done hastily, reiterating how the UK government remains divided on membership of the single market, one of the biggest issues to be resolved.

MEPs will debate the future of the EU today, and the challenges it faces, following European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s annual State of the Union address.

Richard Corbett MEP, Deputy Leader of Labour’s MEPs, will tell the European Parliament:

There are multiple challenges that face Europe at this moment, of which Brexit is just one. But it will be the mother of all divorce cases, and if done hastily will be disastrous.

The list of issues that will need to be settled is huge, and every day new problems are discovered that were never mentioned by Brexit supporters in the referendum campaign.

The British government has not triggered Article 50, because it still has no clue as to what it wants to achieve on most of these issues.

The key one is whether it will try to continue to be part of the single market, in which case it will have to follow the same rules as everyone else for that market, or it will leave it entirely, in which case Britain will face tariff barriers and regulatory obstacles to its main export market, vital to its economy.

This is an unpalatable choice, and one on which the government is divided.

Whichever way the government comes off the fence on this has huge implications for Britain and Europe – and could also see many Leave voters complain that that is not what they were told, nor what they voted for.

Brexit is not a settled issue, neither at European level, nor in Britain, where calls for a re-think of the whole issue will continue to grow.