Chuka Umunna: “The Government Has Wasted A Whole Year Over Brexit”

21 August 2017, 08:07 | Updated: 21 August 2017, 08:27

The Labour MP says the government has been incompetent and can’t even agree with itself over how to pursue Brexit.

"We've had a year since the referendum, you've had five months since the famous Article 50 was invoked starting this whole process," Umunna told Nick Ferrari on LBC's breakfast show. "And only now, in August of this year, are we seeing the government put out position papers as to the UK government's negotiating position."

He said the delay in the government's move was down to incompetence and a split in its thinking over what form Brexit should take.

"I think there are two issues here actually Nick. One is competence, and I just alluded to that on how long it's taken them to do this. And also, I think you've been reporting this for the last couple of weeks, never mind reaching agreement with the European Union the government seems to be struggling to reach agreement with itself."

The former shadow business secretary cited conflicting statements that have come from top ministers

"The trade secretary Liam Fox and Philip Hammond are saying really quite different things over the course of the summer."

Umunna believes the root of this slow progress though is the general difficulty in delivering Brexit "as it was sold".

"I think the second big issue here is whether the government is actually able to deliver Brexit as it was sold in the terms that it was sold through the course of this process.

"You remember there are a number of key things that people said; if you vote to leave the European Union we will get £350 million extra per week for our public services.

"They said you won't be poorer, so the economy will really carry on motoring, in fact it will grow even stronger.

"We would be able to continue to trade in the same way with the European Union countries.

"Now we're actually getting core facts which illustrate, I think, increasingly the impossibility of delivering Brexit in the termsyour listeners believe they would get."