Corbyn backs public vote as Johnson agrees deal with EU

Jeremy Corbyn has made clear that Labour backs another referendum in response to the news that Boris Johnson has agreed a Brexit deal with the European Union.

Reacting to the announcement, the Labour leader said: “From what we know, it seems the Prime Minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected.

“These proposals risk triggering a race to the bottom on rights and protections: putting food safety at risk, cutting environmental standards and workers’ rights, and opening up our NHS to a takeover by US private corporations.

“This sell out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote.”

It is expected that Labour MPs will be whipped to vote in favour of an amendment that advocates putting a Johnson Brexit deal to the public against a ‘Remain’ option in a fresh referendum.

A number of Labour MPs, particularly those representing Leave seats who have joined the ‘MPs For a Deal’ group in parliament, are expected to defy the whip to back the deal. It is not yet certain how many will be willing to do so.

But the fact that the “level playing field” commitment is in the text agreed between Johnson and the EU could lead to further support from the Labour benches, although the language is not binding.

The DUP has confirmed that its statement from earlier this morning, which says the party “could not support” the current proposal, still stands.

Commenting on the news, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This deal would be a disaster for working people. It would hammer the economy, cost jobs and sell workers’ rights down the river.

“Boris Johnson has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May. All MPs should vote against it.”

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