This week, I voted against Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. After negotiating with the EU, Johnson has somehow managed to bring back a deal that is worse than Theresa May’s failed effort.
The Prime Minister’s deal is a license to slash the close relationship with the Single Market, environmental standards, consumer rights, and security protections that we currently enjoy.
It rules out any possibility of the UK negotiating a new customs union with the EU after we leave, which would represent a huge blow to British manufacturing and the communities that are so dependent on those industries.
In Sheffield Heeley, we have 600 manufacturing jobs, 1,080 jobs supported by manufacturing in the wider economy, and a manufacturing industry that produces £26 million in earnings. Johnson’s deal puts all of this at risk.
The deal also provides no legal guarantee and mechanism to ensure that workers’ rights in the UK are preserved. Theresa May’s deal, while fundamentally flawed, at least made a commitment to maintain the workers’ rights that are currently protected by EU law. However, this commitment has been removed from Johnson’s new Withdrawal Agreement.
Why would the Prime Minister specifically remove this legally-binding commitment unless he intends to diminish workers’ rights?
We’ve seen very recently that workers in Sheffield and across the country are already exploited by the likes of Amazon and Asda. The Government should be giving these people greater protection at work, not using Brexit to further push a race to the bottom in pay and working conditions.
Only Labour can be trusted to protect workers. The next Labour Government will create a new Ministry of Labour to empower workers and their trade unions. At the same time as strengthening workers’ rights, we will make work more fulfilling by using public investment to upgrade our economy and create high-quality jobs. We’ll invest in new green technologies as part of a comprehensive industrial strategy designed to address the great challenges of our times.
And when it comes to Brexit, Labour will give the public the final say and immediately legislate for a referendum once elected. Labour trusts the people to decide.