The prime minister is wooingLaborMPs with a promise to maintain so-called ‘level playing field’ rules with the EU , which also include safety and consumer standards.
But the official paper, drafted by the Brexit department and shared with ministers, makes clear the commitment in the agreement “leaves room for interpretation”,The Financial Timesrevealed.
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It said the UK’s and EU’s “interpretation of these [level playing field] commitments will be very different” and that the text represented a “much more open starting point for future relationship negotiations”.
The document also boasts that “UK negotiators successfully resisted the inclusion of all UK-wide LPF rules” that were part ofTheresa May‘s doomed Brexit deal.
Labor seized on the leak as proof that “thisConservativegovernment has no intention of maintaining high standards after we leave the EU ”.
“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, ”saidJenny ChapmanMP, a Brexit spokeswoman.
“It is also clear Boris Johnson was misleading Parliament earlier this week. You simply can’t trust a word Boris Johnson says. ”
The leak could hit the prime minister’s hopes of winning Labor support for hiswithdrawal agreement billin the Commons, if he decides to bring it back.
Nineteen of the party’s MPs defiedJeremy Corbynto back it in principle last Tuesday – but many left open the option of switching sides if the details unraveled.
The issue will come to a head, if Brexit goes ahead, when the UK begins talks to forge a new trade deal with the EU. They must be completed by the end of 2020.
Mr Johnson once described employment regulation as “back-breaking”, fuelling Labor suspicions that any verbal promises are not worth the paper they are not written on.
Last month, the prime minister set out a vision of Britain as a low-tax, lightly regulated economy on the edge of Europe – a vision that alarms some EU leaders.
They have warned that Britain’s prospects of getting an ambitious trade deal with Brussels depend on it continuing to uphold the EU’s robust rules.
Ms May’s deal included a legal commitment not to roll back EU regulatory standards as long as her “backstop” plan for preventing a hardIrish borderwas needed.
But Mr Johnson’s replacement scraps that plan for all of the UK to remain in the customs union, at least temporarily, in favor of Northern Ireland-only alignment.
Instead, the future status of workers’ rights and environmental protections is consigned to thepolitical declaration– which has no legal force.
The department for exiting the European Union (DExEU) declined to comment on the document.