The Co-operative Party reiterated its support for a public vote on the final Brexit deal following the publication of the full text of the agreement last night.
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab resigned today in protest against the deal. secretary of state for work and pensions Esther McVey also handed in her resignation this morning. Junior ministers Suella Braverman and Shailesh Vara have also resigned.
At their annual conference in Bristol last month, Co-operative Party delegates voted in support of a public vote on whether or not the UK should leave the EU on the final terms agreed between the government and the EU. They also approved a policy stating that if no agreement was reached with the EU by 29 March 2019, an extension to Article 50 should be sought.
With the text of the draft withdrawal agreement being released yesterday, the party confirmed it was still backing the idea of a public vote on the final deal.
Co-operative Party chair Gareth Thomas said: “Decisions made in the next few days will have implications for all of us, for years to come. It can’t be right that such decisions are made behind closed doors by a handful of people, with little scrutiny.
“The Co-operative Party believes that we all deserve a say in the decisions that shape our lives. This is one of the biggest in our lifetimes. That’s why it’s time to give the British people the final say, via a people’s vote on the deal the prime minister has proposed. If you agree, why not join us to help make the argument?”
The draft agreement provides for a 21-month transition period during which the UK would continue to follow all European Union rules. The transition period would also be used by the UK and the EU to reach a trade deal. The text explains that the transition period could be further extended for an unspecified period unless a trade agreement is reached.
If an agreement is not reached and the transition period is not extended, the UK would be part of a temporary customs union that would cover all goods except fishery products.