Yvette Cooper says her Article 50 delay bill not designed to stop Brexit

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Yorkshire MP Yvette Cooper has said her controversial attempt to delay Brexit if Parliament has not agreed a deal by the end of February is an attempt to inject some “calm and common sense” into the debate and avoid “a real risk we end up drifting into no deal by accident”.

Writing exclusively for The Yorkshire Post, the Labour MP said no-deal “would mean tariffs on food, real damage to Yorkshire manufacturing and small businesses, and undermine our border security”.

Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper.

Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper.

Ms Cooper and Conservative Nick Boles have tabled a cross-party amendment that seeks an extension to the Article 50 period beyond March 29.

Yvette Cooper: My Article 50 bill buys time to stop no-deal disaster

She said today: “The Bill doesn’t stop Brexit or dictate what kind of Brexit we should have, nor does it revoke Article 50 or overturn the result of the referendum. It just gives everyone a bit more time.

“The Government and Parliament still need to resolve the best way forward, but this Bill prevents us ending up with no deal by accident at the end of March.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested yesterday it could not be taken for granted that Labour would endorse the amendment. “We will decide at the time whether we fully support it or not,” he said on a visit to Wolverton, near Milton Keynes. “I had a very good meeting, a very useful meeting, with Yvette Cooper yesterday. I understand what she is saying, there is a lot of merit in it. We, as a party, will make a decision.”

Mr Corbyn was separately accused of “facilitating a job-destroying Brexit” by pro-remain MPs as they dropped plans for an amendment calling for a second referendum. Opposition backbenchers Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna, and Conservative chairwoman of the influential Commons Liaison Committee Sarah Wollaston were among those who had backed the cross-party amendment.

But they said yesterday that it would not be tabled, with Liverpool Wavertree MP Ms Berger saying it was “because the Labour leadership and frontbench won’t back a People’s Vote”.

It came as Mr Corbyn said “I do not want to re-run the 2016 referendum” when about whether Labour would swing behind a fresh public vote.

Mr Corbyn added: “We are not calling for an extension of Article 50 but quite clearly if Theresa May runs the clock all the way down MPs are going to recognise the dangers of leaving with no deal.”