A Brexit leak confirms Corbyn’s ‘worst fears’ and the looming election is even more crucial

Jeremy Corbyn
Tracy Keeling

Jeremy Corbyn says a leaked Brexit paper revealed in the Financial Times confirms his “worst fears”. The paper suggests the UK government is planning to “diverge” from the EU on worker and environmental protections post-Brexit.

But this revelation won’t do anything to harm Corbyn’s chances with millions of voters at the looming general election.

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“Room for interpretation”

As the FT reports, Boris Johnson has made the case recently that he will protect workers’ rights and environmental standards after Brexit. A Downing Street spokesperson said:

We recognise that MPs want to see these hard won rights protected, not weakened by our departure from the EU and we are happy to ensure this is the case.

Both the public and parliamentarians should be in no doubt that as we leave the EU we will maintain and increase these protections both via the Withdrawal Agreement and future legislation.

But the paper, which was drafted by the government’s Brexit department DexEU and contains “input” from Downing Street, suggests otherwise. As the FT reports, the leaked document said:

the drafting of workers’ rights and environmental protection commitments “leaves room for interpretation”.

Furthermore, it said “the interpretation of these (LPF) commitments will be very different” between the UK and EU. It described the text as a “much more open starting point for future relationship negotiations”, saying London considered binding arbitration “inappropriate”.

The FT said DexEU declined to comment on its revelations.

“Worst fears”

Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman responded, saying:

These documents confirm our worst fears. Boris Johnson’s Brexit is a blueprint for a deregulated economy, which will see vital rights and protections torn up.

Corbyn has long raised concerns over the future of such protections in a Conservative-led post-Brexit Britain. He also recently announced a series of new policies on workers’ right under a future Labour government that he said would constitute:

the biggest extension of rights for workers that our country has ever seen.

Meanwhile, Labour has released plans for its “green industrial revolution”, which it says will “secure a future for our planet” amid the climate crisis.

We’ve been warned

Johnson has also laid out plans for the environment, saying:

If we get this right, future generations will look back on climate change as a problem that we solved by determined global action and the prowess of technology.

But successive Conservative governments‘ actions and comments make it difficult to believe the environment, and its protection, is safe in their hands. Johnson’s past reference to employment regulation as “back-breaking” doesn’t inspire confidence in his commitment to workers’ rights either.

We’ve been warned.

Featured image via This Morning/YouTube

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