POLITICS
13/02/2019 09:15 GMT | Updated 13/02/2019 12:07 GMT

Stephen Barclay Denies Plan To Offer MPs Brexit 'Deal Or Delay' Is Government Policy

Stephen Barclay responds to comments overheard in Brussels bar.

Stephen Barclay has denied it is government policy to run down the clock to exit day and then offer MPs the stark choice of Theresa May’s deal or a delay to Brexit.

The prime minister’s chief EU adviser Olly Robbins was overheard in a Brussels bar by ITV News suggesting that was the plan.

But the Brexit secretary said May was “very clear that we are committed to leaving on March 29”.

“It is not in anyone’s interests to have an extension without any clarity,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

It came as Sir Keir Starmer insisted the option of a second referendum remains on the table for Labour.

The shadow Brexit secretary said the “only credible options” left for the party were “a close economic relationship” with the EU or “a public vote”.

Speaking to Today, Starmer did not deny reports Jeremy Corbyn’s office had removed a reference to holding a second referendum from his letter to the prime minister.

“I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of the drafting of the letter,” he said.

Starmer said Labour would back a bid by a cross-party group of MPs to prevent a no-deal Brexit if May cannot reach an agreement with Brussels by mid-March.

The group, including Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory former minister Sir Oliver Letwin, have said they are ready to table an amendment enabling parliament to force ministers to seek a delay if there is no deal in place.

The move follows the announcement by May on Tuesday that she will make a further Commons statement on February 26 and table an amendable motion to be debated and voted on by MPs the following day, if she has not got a deal at that point.