Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK’s main opposition Labour Party, on Saturday said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal was worse than the one proposed by his predecessor Theresa May.
Johnson on Saturday morning addressed the House of Commons ahead of a “knife-edge” vote on his latest Brexit deal, a last-ditch attempt before the October 31 deadline to leave the European Union (EU), the BBC reported.
His revised deal with the EU was secured at a Brussels summit on Thursday. It ditches his May’s backstop, the measure designed to prevent a return to physical checks on the Irish border. Instead it will, in effect, draw a new customs border along the Irish Sea.
In his address to Parliament, Johnson said that his deal would allow the UK to “take back control”, and benefit “the whole country, including Northern Ireland”.
In response, Corbyn said that the deal was “even worse than Theresa May’s” which was rejected thrice in Parliament, adding that promises on the environment and workers’ rights made by Johnson to MPs on Friday night were “empty” and that Labour legislators “will not be duped”.
The Labour leader added that Johnson’s deal risked jobs, the National Health Services (NHS) and the environment.
It also reduces access to EU markets, he said, adding thousands of jobs were at risk and that a vote for the deal would be a vote to cut manufacturing jobs.
Corbyn urged the MPs not to give the Johnson-led government “a blank cheque” on workers’ rights.
Johnson needs 320 votes for his deal to pass.
The timing of any votes following Johnson’s address depends on which amendments are chosen by the Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, but they were not expected before 2.30 p.m. (around 6.30 p.m. IST), the BBC reported.
At least nine Labour MPs were expected to rebel. On Friday evening, Corbyn said that his party was “united in opposing” Johnson’s “sell-out Brexit deal”.
The UK is due to leave the EU at 11 p.m. on October 31