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UK Labour to ‘vote against’ Brexit deal if it fails to meet tests: Corbyn

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses delegates on the final day of the Labour party conference in Liverpool, north west England on September 26, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Britain's main opposition party has denounced as “shambolic” the Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit negotiations, saying it will vote against any agreement regarding the country’s separation from the European Union (EU) unless the deal meets the party’s standards and criteria.

The leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said in a statement on Tuesday that he doubted the British premier’s Brexit deal would be good for the country, adding that the agreement should meet the party’s six tests, otherwise he would call on his MPs to vote against it.

“We will look at the details of what has been agreed when they are available. But from what we know of the shambolic handling of these negotiations, this is unlikely to be a good deal for the country,” Corbyn said in the statement.

“Labour has been clear from the beginning that we need a deal to support jobs and the economy, and that guarantees standards and protections. If this deal doesn’t meet our six tests and work for the whole country, then we will vote against it,” he noted.

The opposition party has time and again warned the British prime minister that it will vote against her deal and shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer also expressed alarm at the Labour conference in September that the party was taking steps to reject May's deal.

British government sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the draft text for the Brexit deal had been “agreed at a technical level,” prompting May to summon ministers to discuss the agreement ahead of an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, ambassadors from the remaining 27 EU states will meet for emergency talks on Brexit in Brussels on November 14.

'Unacceptable’ deal

Britain’s former foreign secretary Boris Johnson blasted on Tuesday the Brexit agreement with the 28-member bloc as “utterly unacceptable to anyone who believes in democracy.”

Johnson said the deal would not be the “right way forward," demanding that cabinet ministers resign over the Brexit deal before May has even presented to them.

British Conservative Party politician Boris Johnson gestures as he gives a speech during an event on the sidelines of the third day of the Conservative Party Conference 2018 in Birmingham, on October 2, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

“I don’t see how you can support it from a democratic point of view. I don’t see how a Unionist can support it. And I don’t see how you can support it if you believe in the political-economic freedom of this country,” he told BBC.

The ex-foreign secretary also claimed the deal was "making a nonsense of Brexit so I hope the Cabinet will do the right thing and I hope they chuck it out.”

Britain will officially leave the EU in March 2019 although it is still stuck in a disagreement with the EU on how the two should administer their only land border after Brexit. Hopes were high a broad Brexit deal could be finalized this month but reports suggest negotiations could drag on into December.

Britain has resisted EU’s backstop plan to include Northern Ireland in its customs union for the two-year post-Brexit transition period and beyond that until a permanent solution is agreed for trade.

London has proposed the EU could include the entire UK in the customs union but insists any arrangement for the border should be time-limited.


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