The opposition Labour Party in Britain called the Brexit impasse “a complete mess”, while Prime Minister Theresa May used her New Year message to send an optimistic message before Parliament resumes for the crucial vote on her deal from January 7.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn used the occasion to say that the country “cannot go on like this”, adding that the ruling Conservative Party had “plunged the country into crisis”. He termed the current Brexit situation “a complete mess”.
The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29. If the withdrawal agreement is passed in Parliament, it will take the form of a treaty with the EU, but serious reservations in both sides of the Brexit divide make its passage uncertain.
The debate resumes in the week beginning January 7, with voting scheduled for the week beginning January 14.
Sounding an upbeat note, May said: “New Year is a time to look ahead and in 2019, the UK will start a new chapter. The Brexit deal I have negotiated delivers on the vote of the British people and in the next few weeks, MPs will have an important decision to make”.
“If Parliament backs a deal, Britain can turn a corner. The referendum in 2016 was divisive but we all want the best for our country and 2019 can be the year we put our differences aside and move forward together, into a strong new relationship with our European neighbours and out into the world as a globally trading nation.”
However, Corbyn led opposition leaders using their New Year messages to criticise May’s deal.
Corbyn, who said Labour would seek to re-open negotiations with Brussels to pursue a better outcome, accused the government of “trying to drive through a bad deal and letting people down all across the country whether they voted leave or remain”.
According to him, only Labour was capable of uniting the UK, with policies to tackle inequality and job insecurity: “Eight years of damaging Tory failure has left us with a divided country where millions are struggling to make ends meet. We cannot go on like this”.
Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable said: “The history books will look back on the coming three months as critical. Are we going to make a terrible mistake, leaving behind our influence in Europe’s most successful peace project and the world’s biggest marketplace?”
First Published: Jan 01, 2019 20:42 IST
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