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‘A Far Worse Deal Than Theresa May’s Deal’: Labour Vows to Defeat Brexit Plan Agreed to by EU

News on Thursday that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reached a deal with the European Union to allow Britain to leave the coalition under the Brexit referendum of 2016 was met with criticism and derision by progressives, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

“It won’t bring the country together and should be rejected,” Corbyn said of the deal on Twitter Thursday. 

Johnson made the deal with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday. The agreement will go up for a vote in fron of the U.K. Parliament on a special Saturday session. 

But opponents of Johnson’s approach are prepared to make it an uphill fight. 

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer expanded on Corbyn’s criticism of the deal.

“It is clear that the Johnson deal is a far worse deal than Theresa May’s deal,” said Starmer. “It paves the way for a decade of deregulation. It gives Johnson licence to slash workers’ rights, environmental standards and consumer protections.”

According to journalist Paul Mason, a supporter of Corbyn, Labour intends to enter Parliament on Saturday united behind demanding a second referndum on either the Johnson deal or pulling out of Brexit completely.

“That’s our strategy, let the people decide,” said Mason. “Having achieved that—which I think we can on Saturday—that’s the platform for going into an election and ridding this country of this right wing, authoritarian, white nationalist, and English chauvinist government once and for all.”

Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon also rejected the deal’s premise.

“It’s hard to imagine a deal that would be worse for Scotland,” said Sturgeon.

The deal, which would go into effect for the current Brexit deadline of October 31, reportedly undoes the hardest sticking point of negotiations, what to do with the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, by allowing goods to flow through the border after crossing through customs over the Irish Sea. 

Johnson’s counterpart in Ireland, Taisoeach Leo Varadkar, called the deal a “good agreement” in comments to reporters. 

“It allows the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion,” said Varadkar.

That sentiment was not, however, shared by others in Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

Northern Ireland’s hard-right Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who are relied on by Johnson and the Conservatives to maintain their majority in Parliament, flatly rejected the proposal. Without the DUP’s support, passing Brexit becomes even more difficult.

“We have been consistent that we will only ever consider supporting arrangements that are in Northern Ireland’s long-term economic and constitutional interests and protect the integrity of the Union,” the party said in a statement. “These proposals are not, in our view, beneficial to the economic well-being of Northern Ireland and they undermine the integrity of the Union.”

Irish nationalist party Sinn Féin, in a tweet, said that there was “no good Brexit.” 

“The people of the north did not consent to Brexit,” Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill said, referring to Northern Irelands vote against the proposal in 2016. “They rejected it.”



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Common Dreams

This article is republished from Common Dreams under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.