Michel Barnier today told the European Parliament:
“…le gouvernement britannique actuel souhaite revenir sur les engagements pris par Theresa May dans ce domaine du level playing field.
Avec un grand pays si proche, important, comme le Royaume-Uni, qui réalise la moitié de son commerce avec nous, un partenariat économique ambitieux exige un socle de règles du jeu communes.
“Dès lors, le niveau d'ambition d'un futur accord de libre-échange que nous devrons négocier en toutes hypothèses et conclure avec le Royaume-Uni dépendra clairement des garanties que nous aurons ensemble, mis sur le papier en matière sociale, environnementale, de concurrence ou d'aide d'Etat.
“The British Government wishes to revisit the agreements made by Theresa May in the area of the level playing field. With an important country, so close, such as the United Kingdom, where half of its trade is with us, an ambitious economic partnership requires as a basis, common game rules [ie level playing field].
“As such, the level of ambition for our future free trade agreement, which we will have to negotiate and conclude with the UK, will under all circumstances, depend upon clear guarantees which we will have together, in writing, in the areas of social issues, the environment, competition or state aid.”
Commenting, Tonia Antoniazzi MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“It becomes clearer every day that Boris Johnson’s aim is to use Brexit to tear up the UK’s employment, health and safety at work, food safety and environmental protection laws. He’s only interested in a Brexit ‘deal’ if it gives him the authority to instigate this revolution, otherwise he wants No Deal precisely because it removes any barriers to his ability to rip up the laws that protect us from bad employers, chlorinated chicken, dangerous workplaces and polluters.
“Opposition to the Irish backstop is only the tip of the iceberg here. Johnson wants to trash all the commitments that Theresa May gave the House of Commons about negotiating red lines. From the Irish peace process to food on our supermarket shelves, Johnson is determined to press ahead with his plans for a Brexit that would damage our country and leave us a lot worse off but which might enrich an already privileged few.
“All of this is a million miles away from anything anyone voted for in 2016.
“It would be extraordinary if any Labour MP backed Johnson over Brexit when what he is now proposing is a fundamental and irreversible shift in wealth and power away from working people and towards the worst employers, the biggest polluters and the rip-off retailers.
“Boris Johnson will never put the national interest ahead of his personal interest. Instead we should trust the people to have the final say on Brexit.”