Labour accepts the EU referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first. We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.
A Brexit deal that works for every community in the UK
We will end Theresa May’s reckless approach to Brexit, and seek to unite the country around a Brexit deal that works for every community in the UK.
We will scrap the Tories’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the single market and the customs union – which are essential for maintaining industries, jobs and businesses in the UK. Labour will always put jobs and the economy first.
A Labour government will immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain and secure reciprocal rights for UK citizens who have chosen to make their lives in EU countries. EU nationals do not just contribute to our society; they are part of our society. And they should not be used as bargaining chips.
There are over 180,000 EU nationals currently living and working in Scotland and we will guarantee their rights.
It is shameful that the Prime Minister rejected repeated attempts by Labour to resolve this issue before Article 50 was triggered. As a result, 3 million EU nationals have suffered unnecessary uncertainty, as have the 1.2 million UK citizens living in the EU.
A Tory Brexit will weaken workers’ rights, deregulate the economy, slash corporate taxes, sideline Parliament and democratic accountability, and cut Britain off from our closest allies and most important trading partners.
Labour recognises that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. We will reject ‘no deal’ and negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a cliff-edge for the UK economy.
The issues that affect our continent now will continue to do so in the future – and Labour will continue to work constructively with the EU and other European nations on issues such as climate change, refugee crises and counter-terrorism. We will build a close cooperative future relationship with the EU, not as members, but as partners.
A Labour government will ensure that the UK maintains our leading research role by seeking to stay part of Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes, and by welcoming research staff to the UK. We will seek to maintain membership of (or equivalent relationships with) European organisations which offer benefits to the UK, such as the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Medicines Agency.
We will seek to ensure that Britain remains part of the Erasmus scheme so that British students have the same educational opportunities after we leave the EU.
The EU is the UK’s single largest trading partner in agricultural produce, with the vast majority of British exports being sold to European markets.
A Labour government will end the uncertainty for our farmers, our fishing industry and food producers by securing continued EU market access, allowing British farmers and food producers to continue to sell their products on the continent.
Labour will also protect our farmers and rural economy by ensuring Britain continues to set the highest standards in food quality and welfare. We will not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut our farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce.
We will drop the Tories’ Great Repeal Bill, replacing it with an EU Rights and Protections Bill that will ensure there is no detrimental change to workers’ rights, equality law, consumer rights or environmental protections as a result of Brexit.
Throughout the Brexit process, we will make sure that all EU-derived laws that are of benefit – including workplace laws, consumer rights and environmental protections – are fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses. We will work with trade unions, businesses and stakeholders to ensure there is a consensus on this vital issue. A Labour approach to Brexit will ensure there can be no rolling back of key rights and protections and that the UK does not lag behind Europe in workplace protections and environmental standards in future.
The EU has had a huge impact in securing workplace protections and environmental safeguards. But we all know that for many Brexiteers in the Tory Party, this was why they wanted to leave – to tear up regulations and weaken hard-fought rights and protections.
A Labour government will never consider these rights a burden or accept the weakening of workers’ rights, consumer rights or environmental protections.
We will introduce legislation to ensure there are no gaps in national security and criminal justice arrangements as a result of Brexit.
Labour recognises the vital role that cross-border agencies, such as Eurojust and Europol, have played in making Britain safer and that European Arrest Warrants have been invaluable. A Labour government will seek to retain membership of these agencies and continue European Arrest Warrant arrangements.
Labour will seek a Brexit deal that delivers for all regions and nations of the UK. We will introduce a ‘presumption of devolution’ where powers transferred from the EU will go straight to the relevant region or nation. For many people, and for much of our country, power can feel just as remote and unaccountable in Westminster as it does in Brussels. So a Labour government will seek to put powers as close to communities as possible.
In Scotland that will mean legislation around farming and agriculture, fisheries and rural development will come to Holyrood and further empower the Labour-founded Scottish Parliament.
We will ensure there is no drop in EU structural funding that occurs as a result of Brexit until the end of the current EU funding round in 2019/20. As part of Labour’s plans to rebalance and rebuild the economy, we will ensure that no region or nation of the UK is affected by the withdrawal of EU funding for the whole of this Parliament. This will also apply to the funding of peace and reconciliation projects in Northern Ireland.
We will also improve engagement and dialogue with the devolved administrations and seek to ensure the final Brexit deal addresses specific concerns.
Scottish Labour, for instance, has raised issues around immigration in terms of how vital migrants are to the Scottish economy and Scottish Labour will continue to make Scotland’s voice heard in the drawing up of any new immigration policies.
Labour will ensure there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and that there is no change in the status or sovereignty of Gibraltar. We will also protect Gibraltar’s economy and ensure that its government can continue to create jobs and prosperity in the years to come.
Where Theresa May wants to shut down scrutiny and challenge, Labour will welcome it. We will work with Parliament, not against it. On an issue of this importance, the government can’t hide from the public or Parliament.
A Labour approach to Brexit also means legislating to guarantee that Parliament has a truly meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal.
Labour offers fair rules and reasonable management of migration. In trade negotiations our priorities favour growth, jobs and prosperity. We make no apologies for putting these aims before bogus immigration targets.
Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union. Britain’s immigration system will change, but Labour will not scapegoat migrants, nor blame them for economic failures.
Labour will develop and implement fair immigration rules. We will not discriminate between people of different races or creeds. We will end indefinite detentions, distinguish between migrant labour and family attachment, and will continue to support the work of the Forced Marriage Unit.
We will replace income thresholds with a prohibition on recourse to public funds. New rules will be equally informed by negotiations with the EU and other partners, including the Commonwealth.
Whatever our trade arrangements, we will need new migration management systems, transparent and fair to everybody, working with businesses, trade unions, devolved governments and others to identify specific labour and skill shortages.
Working together we will institute a new system which is based on our economic needs, balancing controls and existing entitlements. This may include employer sponsorship, work permits, visa regulations or a tailored mix of all these which works for the many, not the few.
Labour will protect those already working here, whatever their ethnicity. We will take decisive action to end the exploitation of migrant labour undercutting workers’ pay and conditions.
Labour will crack down on unscrupulous employers. We will stop overseas-only recruitment practices, strengthen safety-at-work inspections and increase prosecutions of employers evading the minimum wage. Working with trade unions, we will end workplace exploitation. Labour values the economic and social contributions of immigrants. Both public and private sector employers depend on immigrants. We will not denigrate those workers. We value their contributions, including their tax contributions.
For areas where immigration has placed a strain on public services we will reinstate the Migrant Impact Fund and boost it with a contributory element from the investments required for High Net Worth Individual Visas.
Labour will restore the rights of migrant domestic workers, and end this form of modern slavery. Labour will ease the underlying pressures in any areas struggling to cope with seven years of austerity with our programme of investments. We will not cut public services and pretend the cuts are a consequence of immigration.
Refugees are not migrants. They have been forced from their homes, by war, famine or other disasters. Unlike the Tories, we will uphold the proud British tradition of honouring the spirit of international law and our moral obligations by taking our fair share of refugees.
In Scotland, councils like Glasgow and North Lanarkshire have led the way in welcoming refugees and helping them to settle into their new lives.
The current arrangements for housing and dispersing refugees are not fit for purpose. They are not fair to refugees or to our communities. We will review these arrangements.
Labour welcomes international students who benefit and strengthen our education sector, generating more than £25 billion for the British economy. In Scotland, the 51,910 students who studied here in 2015/16 contributed £850 million a year in consumer spending and around £400 million in fees, significantly boosting jobs and local businesses. They are not permanent residents and we will not include them in immigration numbers, but we will crack down on fake colleges.
Labour is pro-trade and pro-investment. The UK’s future prosperity depends on minimising tariff and non-tariff barriers that prevent us from exporting and creating the jobs and economic growth we need.
Labour will work with the Scottish government and other devolved administrations to bring forward an integrated trade and industrial strategy that boosts exports, investment and decent jobs in Britain.
Labour will set out our priorities in an International Trade White Paper to lead a national debate on the future of Britain’s trade policy. We will ensure proper transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of all future trade and investment deals.
The EU accounts for 44 per cent of our current exports and will continue to be a priority trading partner. As our trading relationship with the EU changes, it is vital that we retain unrestricted access for our goods and services.
Through our Just Trading initiative launched in 2016, Labour will work with global trading partners to develop ‘best-in-class’ free trade and investment agreements that remove trade barriers and promote skilled jobs and high standards.
We will ensure all future trade deals safeguard the right to regulate in the public interest and to protect public services.
Labour is committed to the rules-based international trading system of the World Trade Organization (WTO). We will rejoin the Government Procurement Agreement, while safeguarding the capacity for public bodies to make procurement decisions in keeping with public policy objectives.
Labour will build human rights and social justice into trade policy. We will ensure that trade agreements cannot undermine human rights and labour standards, and that UK Export Finance support is not available to companies engaged in bribery or corrupt practices. Scottish Labour opposes the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
We will work with other WTO members to end the dumping of state-subsidised goods on our markets. The Tories consistently blocked EU efforts to respond to dumping with the duties needed to defend our steel industry. Labour will develop the full range of trade remedies necessary to support key sectors affected by these unfair practices.
Labour will champion the export interests of SMEs, ensuring all new trade agreements include a commitment to support their market access needs. We will develop an export incentive scheme for SMEs based on international best practice.
Labour will use the full range of export credit, finance, insurance and trade promotion tools to boost British exports and support priority industrial sectors.
We will create a network of regional trade and investment champions to promote the export and investment interests of businesses across the UK, and we will include representation from nations and regions on overseas trade missions.
Labour is committed to growing the digital economy and ensuring that trade agreements do not impede cross-border data flows, while maintaining strong data protection rules to protect personal privacy.
As part of our commitment to a low-carbon future, we will actively support international negotiations towards an Environmental Goods Agreement at the WTO. Labour will use trade negotiations to boost market access for British environmental goods and services, alongside support for investment into new green technologies and innovative low-carbon products.
Labour will develop capital investment schemes and other incentives to encourage investment into the UK, especially into target areas identified by the industrial strategy. We will champion the UK as a safe investment environment.
Labour will review our historic investment treaties with other countries, ensuring they are fit for purpose for the 21st century.