Hilary Benn calls for Brexit negotiation plans to be made clear in new scrutiny role

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at 2016.10.23
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Hilary Benn calls for Brexit negotiation plans to be made clear in new scrutiny role

Hilary Benn, in his new role as chair of the Brexit select committee, has called for the Conservative government to come clean on its negotiating position for the UK leaving the European Union.

Benn was sacked as shadow foreign secretary by Jeremy Corbyn, after the veteran MP criticised the Labour leader following the EU referendum. But fellow MPs elected him as leader of the cross-party committee which will scrutinise the government as it manages the process of the UK leaving the EU.

Speaking on BBC’s The Andrew Marr show on Sunday (23 October), Benn said he would haul in the likes of David Davis and Boris Johnson to ensure the Britain’s path out of the economic block is clarified.

“What’s the immediate task?” he said. “Well, we’ve got to work out what Britain’s negotiating objectives are going to be as we undertake the process of leaving the European Union.

“Now, the government says we’re not going to give you a running commentary and we don’t want micro-management, but there are some very basic questions.

“For example, the biggest challenges we face at the moment – and some of the newspaper headlines today demonstrate that – is the uncertainty about what the future holds.

“So what is going to be our future trading relationship with the European Union? What objective is the government going to set for that negotiation?”

Benn saw off Labour colleague Kate Hoey for the position as select committee chair last week (18 October) and will scrutinise Davis’s actions in the Tory MP’s new role as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

He said it was important that the government clarifies its position on Brexit as leaving the EU “is the most complex task that we’ve faced as a country – certainly in peace time”.

Benn said: “I would expect the select committee will want to get answers from ministers because we have to manage the uncertainty, deal with the risk and also make the most of the opportunities.

“We need to work out how we’re going to balance free movement and controls on free movement with the greatest possible access to the single market.

“I think everybody in the UK and in what will be left of the EU recognises that once we’ve left that it is in our joint interest to continue to find ways of cooperating, because there are big challenges in the world out there.”

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Published at Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:16:06 +0000

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