Brexit

Brexit 'turning into a nightmare'

Len McCluskey said Theresa May's authority had been eroded
Alan Jones, Press Association

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Brexit is turning into a "nightmare", with the shadow of job losses hanging over British industry, because of the Government's handling of negotiations to leave the EU, a union leader has warned.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said British prime minister Theresa May has lost all authority or capacity to make decisions.

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He told the union's policy conference in Brighton: "She is held prisoner by the dogmatists and fantasists of the far right.

"These people see in Brexit the chance to turn Britain into the low-wage, deregulated, race-to-the-bottom society of their dreams.

"But Brexit is turning into a nightmare for the rest of us - a nightmare of uncertainty above all.

"The shadow of job losses is hanging over much of the British economy, including the jobs of tens of thousands of Unite members."

Mr McCluskey said it was urgent that the Labour Party and trade union movement come together around an alternative to the Conservatives' plans.

He said: "Labour has started to do that with Jeremy Corbyn's call for Britain to stay in a customs union with the EU.

"And to have access to, not membership of, a tariff-free single market, as well as his opposition to any hard border dividing Ireland once more.

"Labour has the chance to speak for the whole country in resisting the catastrophic hard Brexit the Tories have in store."

Mr McCluskey said Unite was not calling for a second referendum but, like the Labour Party, remained open to the possibility of a vote on any deal the Tories come back with.

He added: "Our movement needs to speak with a single voice in opposition to the Tory cliff-edge Brexit in support of jobs, workers' rights and equality for all, removing the concerns that many of our members have, and in also offering hope to those who backed Brexit out of despair."

The conference is debating Brexit.

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