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Corbyn’s Brexit chief denies the party is in chaos

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer today insisted Labour’s threat to vote against crucial Brexit laws is still in place.

He warned Labour could oppose the Repeal Bill in its first vote on September 11 if the party does not get guarantees about workers’ rights.

Labour has demanded changes to the legislation since it was first published in July.

But Brexit Secretary David Davis dismissed the threat today and warned Remain campaigners they would be consigning Britain to a chaotic exit if they block the Bill.

And senior Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg told MailOnline voting against the new laws would be a ‘rejection’ of the Brexit referendum.  

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer (pictured on the BBC today said Labour would vote to stop handing ministers a ‘blank cheque to pass powers’ if its concerns were not addressed

The legislation – officially known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill copies all existing EU rules into British law and repeals the law underpinning British membership of the EU.

Critics say it contains sweeping powers that will allow ministers to re-write laws as they are copied over without proper scrutiny.

In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Sir Keir warned Labour would vote to stop handing ministers a ‘blank cheque to pass powers’ if its concerns were not addressed. 

Labour also has concerns about the Charter of Fundamental Rights – which ministers say has no direct effect on UK law today – not being part of the new law.

Asked if his party would definitely vote against the Bill if Brexit Secretary David Davis does not sit down and accept his points, Sir Keir said: ‘We have said that, I flagged these points up at the beginning of summer and said if you don’t address them we will be voting against it.

‘Now we haven’t reached that stage yet but I have been very, very clear – whilst we accept the result of the referendum we are not giving a blank cheque to the Government to do it in whichever way it wants because it is not in the public interest.’

Brexit Secretary David Davis warned rebels off today insisting the legislation was intended to replicate existing arrangements.

He said major policy changes on things like immigration and customs would be made via separate laws. 

In a plea to ‘soft Brexit’ backers, Mr Davis said: ‘If you want something like continuity, this is the Bill you should be supporting.’ 

Mr Rees-Mogg told MailOnline: ‘It would be a rejection of the largest democratic vote in our nation’s history and a repudiation of Labour’s general election manifesto.

‘It would, therefore, not enhance the party’s credibility.’  

Corbyn's Brexit chief denies the party is in chaos

David Davis (pictured today on the BBC) has insisted reports Britain will pay a Brexit bill of almost £50billion were ‘nonsense’ and ‘completely wrong’

Brexit supporting Tory MP James Cleverly said: ‘With the second reading of the Repeal Bill this week, it is deeply worrying that Labour are clearly still divided and distracted by their own internal politics.

‘Whilst we are getting on with the job of negotiating with Brussels, Keir Starmer is negotiating with the Labour Party.

‘Only the Conservative Party can deliver an effective and successful Brexit that works for the whole of the UK.’

Sir Keir also denied Labour’s Brexit was mired in chaos after a significant shift last month.

He said acceptance of the single market during a Brexit transition was a ‘development’ on where the party stood at the election but insisted the principles were unchanged. 

Corbyn's Brexit chief denies the party is in chaos

Sir Keir denied Labour had U-turned on continuing membership of the EU single market in an interview with Andrew Marr (pictured)  

Sir Keir denied Labour had made a ‘U-turn’ over its policy on keeping Britain in the EU’s single market and customs union during a transition period after March 2019.

He said it was instead a ‘development of our policy’, and said: ‘On the question of what are the terms of the transitional arrangements, Labour has never said anything other than we retain the benefits of the single market and the customs union.’

Sir Keir said Britain could attempt to be in ‘a’ customs union with Europe, but said it could not be in ‘the’ customs union as a non-EU member.

His comments are at odds with Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson who said membership of the single market and customs union ‘might be a permanent outcome of the negotiations’.