By Peter Kenyon

Chair of Labour Business International Trade Policy Group (previously Brexit Policy Group).

Labour Business has redefined the work programme and renamed its former Brexit Policy Group as the International Policy Group (IPG) in the wake of the UK leaving the EU.

Our first task is to survey members about an extension to the EU transition period. The results will inform our submission to the new party leadership. We are waiting for the end of the latest round of talks due to end on Thursday 14 May to finalise the questions.

There is a very short window of opportunity to halt the Tory government hell bent on taking the UK out of the EU without a deal. The IPG has already concluded the best way forward is to work with sympathetic Tory members of Parliament. Yes, there are some rational Conservative MPs. Our job is to encourage as many businesses as possible to lobby for an extension. This is not to reopen the debate about leaving, but to help avoid even worse economic prospects following the coronavirus lockdown.

Further work of the group will be dictated by the outcome of call for an extension. If you are interested in joining in our deliberations, which from now on will mainly be by video conference, please let me know. So, if you are in John O’Groats, Londonderry, Penzance or Dover you can still take part.

The new terms of reference are:

  • To monitor the implementation of Brexit by the Tory Government and provide regular feedback to Labour Business members and the Labour front bench
  • Survey Labour Business member opinion about future global trade, economic, protections and financial relations
  • To monitor the positions of the Labour Leadership as compared with Labour Business member priorities and advise the EC accordingly
  • To make the case for the closest possible alignment of the UK with the EU on economic policy, business regulations, workers’ rights, consumer and environmental protection, as well as the closest possible collaboration on science, trade sector bodies, education and research, free movement and the mutual protection of EU citizenship in the UK and the EU, subject to Labour Business member requirements

In so doing, to build an evidence base for re-joining the EU when circumstances permit.

An EU transition period extension and beyond
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