Sir Keir Starmer claimed Labour was “chipping away” at the Government, as it battles to secure concessions before the final vote to trigger Article 50 goes through the Commons.
“It was new because the Government conceded that there will be a vote, not only on the Article 50 deal – which is the divorce settlement if you like – but also on the new agreement, which will be the new relationship between the UK and the EU at some time beyond 2019,” Sir Keir said.
However, the programme’s host Sarah Montague suggested Labour had actually come away from the negotiation with nothing.
Keir Starmer struggled to defend Labour's 'victory' after MPs were handed a vote on a Brexit deal
What have you got here – it’s meaningless this vote, isn’t it?
“When you do get that vote, when the government comes back and says, ‘This is the deal we’ve negotiated,’ if you don’t like it, what’s your alternative?” she asked.
“What are you voting on? Because they are not going back [to Brussels], it was made clear yesterday that there is no plan to renegotiate if it’s voted down.”
“We have been fighting… And these are battles that have been going on inch by inch – they are difficult, of course, because we are in opposition," he said.
His comments angered Montague, who repeated claims from the Prime Minister that if her deal was voted down, she would happily revert to WTO rules and leave the European divorce without a replacement deal.
“According to senior Labour figures, they are battles you are losing and the suggestion is that you’ve effectively been suckered,” she told Sir Keir.
“What have you got here? The vote that you are saying, ‘Look the Government has conceded, we’ve won this right for a vote,’ it’s meaningless this vote, isn’t it?”
The Labour frontbencher concluded it was “inevitable” the UK will adopt a “transitional arrangement”, which the party will push for during future Commons debates.
Theresa May's Brexit plan Mon, January 16, 2017
It's finally here!
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Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
Sir Keir also refused to comment on the future of Labour rebels who defied leader Jeremy Corbyn’s three-line whip, demanding his MPs back the Government’s Brexit bill.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has faced heavy criticism over her failure to attend a critical vote in last week's Commons – citing illness.
“I’ve got lots of difficult challenges in the job I’ve got, but discipline and whipping are not among them,” he said.
“It’s a matter for the leader of the Labour Party and the chief whip. I’ve got my brief, which is to keep chipping away at the Government – challenging them on accountability and scrutiny of the Brexit negotiations.
“The leader of the Labour Party and the chief whip will have to decide what action to take, it’s not my responsibility.”
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