Labour and Tories need to compromise on Brexit, says David Gauke | Politics News
Both Labour and Tories need to compromise to deliver Brexit, Tory Justice Secretary David Gauke said, after the two main parties suffered losses in the local elections.
Voters forced out more than 1,300 Conservative councillors during a bruising round of local elections in England – causing the Tories to lose control of 49 local authorities.
It was the worst performance by a governing party in local elections since 1995.
Referring to the continuing talks between the two sides, Mr Gauke acknowledged that more work needed to be done, but stressed the need to “persevere with that”.
He argued there was a responsibility on both main parties to secure a “sensible” agreement that safeguarded jobs and livelihoods.
However, his plea for consensus received an immediate setback as Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer accused cabinet members of being more concerned with the next Tory leadership after the foreign secretary warned that a customs union would not be a “long-term solution”.
Sir Keir said Jeremy Hunt’s comments provided “yet more evidence” that many in the cabinet believe the “most important thing right now” is the race to succeed Theresa May.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Gauke said: “We need to deliver a Brexit that protects jobs and livelihoods.
“The House of Commons won’t allow us to leave without a deal, so we need to final a deal that the House of Commons will support.
“I think’s regrettable we haven’t already left on the prime minister’s deal.
“As that deal hasn’t got through we are left really with very little choice but to try to negotiate with the Labour Party to find a way of getting a parliamentary majority for delivering Brexit.”
He added: “Both sides are going to need to compromise.
“I think there is a responsibility on the major parties to try to unite the country by delivering a deal that protects jobs and livelihoods and ensures that we have got access to European markets, which is good for our economy.
“We have obviously been in lengthy talks in recent weeks. There is still more work to be done. It’s important that we persevere with that.
“I do think that by and large the British public wants us to deliver Brexit and wants us to do that in a sensible way.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “When you haven’t got a majority for something but you do want to do it of course you have to compromise.”
He added: “I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is fit to be prime minister but I do think there are many many Labour MPs who also want to deliver Brexit.
“Therefore, we should be able to find the majority in Parliament for a deal that gets us out.”
Meanwhile, responding to remarks in which Mr Hunt said he had “never believed” that a customs union is a “long-term solution”, Sir Keir, the shadow Brexit secretary, tweeted: “This is yet more evidence that for many in the Cabinet the most important thing right now is the next Tory leadership contest.”
The foreign secretary said it was still possible that the UK would not have to take part in the European elections in three weeks’ time.
He warned that the outcome would not be “pretty” for both parties if they had to participate in the polls and said the cross-party talks could yield a deal in the next week.
Speaking in Nairobi, Kenya, on the last leg of his week-long African visit, Mr Hunt said there would need to be a “very high degree of statesmanship on both sides” in the discussions.
“We have an adversarial system in Westminster and it’s in our DNA not to co-operate with each other.
“But I think the glimmer of hope we have in this situation is that both Conservative core voters and Labour core voters want Brexit sorted, and both would be extremely angry with the party they voted for if we had another general election without Brexit being delivered.”