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Deep concerns over British MPs’ willingness to risk Brexit

A statement by GUE/NGL President and member of the Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, Gabi Zimmer

In light of the latest vote in the House of Commons, it remains our firm belief that a Brexit agreement is in the best interests of people in Britain and in the EU.

GUE/NGL worked hard with other political groups in the European Parliament to develop a mandate for Michel Barnier towards this end. As MEPs, we took our political responsibility seriously to safeguard the rights and interests of all EU citizens and EU member states.

The Withdrawal Agreement may be imperfect, but its imperfections are due to the EU accommodating the British red lines.

It is therefore hugely disappointing that two years of negotiations have now been cast aside just because of internal fights in the British Tory party.

Let us remember that the backstop as it is in the Withdrawal Agreement was a British creation. The original EU proposal was to put in place special arrangements for the North of Ireland.

Peace in Ireland and in Europe are absolutely essential for us. Therefore, the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts and the full rights of EU and UK citizens – especially in the North of Ireland – have to be guaranteed. Yesterday´s vote undermines both.

Equally, we must ensure that Brexit will not be used by the British government to undermine workers’ rights, environmental standards and consumer protections.

It is deeply worrying that a majority in the British parliament seems willing to put all that at risk.

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