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Sir Keir Starmer says Brexit deal 'can be done' as UK approaches deadline
12 October 2020, 12:05 | Updated: 12 October 2020, 12:19
The Labour Leader has told LBC a Brexit deal still "can be done" and urged the Government to "get on" and deliver it.
Sir Keir Starmer blamed "a lot of distraction" from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others in the Cabinet for delays in securing a deal as the UK approaches the end-of-year deadline.
He told LBC that the debate over Leave/Remain was over and that it was "in the national interest" to get a deal as soon as possible.
"All the businesses I've spoken to said that the thing we want most of all is not delay but a deal," he said.
"I think a deal can be done - the Prime Minister told us he's got an oven-ready deal and my message to him is 'well get on then and deliver it' and that's what I want to happen."
Both the UK and the 27 European Union (EU) countries have agreed that a deal needs to be struck by the end of October to allow sufficient time for it to be ratified in law.
The Labour Leader was pushed by a business owner to support an extension to the Brexit transition period deadline, but he insisted that a deal would bring more stability for companies instead of more uncertainty that an extension would bring.
"There is no vote in Parliament on an extension of the transition period so the ball is very firmly in the Government's court now," he added.
"The Prime Minister - he grumbles about the deal and introduces legislation to break international law - the question he really needs to answer is, 'when he signed the deal that he then used in the election did he know what he was signing?'"
He added that it would be "new levels of incompetence" if Boris Johnson did not know what he was signing.
It follows a series of talks between the Prime Minister and European leaders in France and Germany over the weekend.
He told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron he would "explore every avenue" to secure a future trade settlement but that he was prepared to walk away from the transition period at the end of the year on Australian-style terms with Brussels if necessary.
On Sunday, he relayed a similar message to German leader Angela Merkel.