Why Boris Johnson’s deal is ‘gateway to catastrophic hard Brexit’ – Martin Whitfield MP

Think Brexit's done? There's still much to do even if Boris Johnson's deal is passed by MPs (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Think Brexit's done? There's still much to do even if Boris Johnson's deal is passed by MPs (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
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On ‘super Saturday’ I will be voting against Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. First and foremost, there is no such thing as a good Brexit deal.

Our economy is already suffering following the Leave vote in 2016, and we haven’t even left yet.

Brexit will make us all poorer – it will weaken our trade with the EU, impacting on jobs and livelihoods, and reduce the amount of money the Government has to spend on public services like the NHS.

It will take away opportunities for British people to live and work abroad, and take away opportunities for migrant workers to fill the huge skills gaps we have here at home.

Brexit also puts the Union at risk, and will be used by the SNP to ramp up its reckless demands for a divisive second independence referendum, even though Scexit would be far, far worse for our economy than even the worst-case Brexit.

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Leaving the EU – just like leaving the UK – would hit the poorest the hardest. That’s why we should be working to build bridges, not barriers.

A no-deal Brexit would be the worst possible scenario, risking immediate medicine shortages.

But the deal Boris Johnson is bringing back to the Commons is the second-worst Brexit option.

Nobody voted for this deal

This is, after all, only the political declaration – the divorce agreement. It doesn’t tell us what the future economic partnership will look like. That will take years of difficult negotiation.

Yet Mr Johnson’s deal requires there to be a comprehensive trade deal agreed by the end of 2020, which would be unprecedented and nearly impossible to achieve in such a short space of time.

So if a trade deal is not achieved, the transition period would come to an end with no agreement on our future relationship – or, in other ways, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit in little over a year.

What the Prime Minister is bringing back from Brussels is a gateway to a catastrophic hard Brexit, eroding workers’ rights and consumer protection, costing jobs, and failing to protect the low paid and the vulnerable.

Nobody voted for this deal in 2016. It is certainly not what Boris Johnson promised voters.

So there is only one solution: put it to the people.

The demands for a confirmatory referendum on the Brexit deal are getting louder by the minute.

If Mr Johnson is so confident this is the will of the people, what is he scared of?

The only democratic way to solve this crisis is with a People’s Vote.

When that comes, I will be campaigning to keep the best deal we already have – remaining a member of the EU.

Martin Whitfield is Scottish Labour MP for East Lothian