Responding to Boris Johnson’s latest proposals on Brexit briefed in advance of his speech to Conservative conference, Bridget Phillipson MP, leading supporter of People’s Vote, said:
“Few people will see these proposals as a serious offer designed to secure a Brexit deal, and it remains to be seen if the European Commission will even enter into formal negotiations over them.
“Nor can anyone ignore that what Boris Johnson is proposing is a Brexit by the right, for the right.
“Central to his plans are the abolition of European standards of workers’ rights, safety rules for food and workplaces, and environmental protection. It would mean the UK competing as Europe’s bargain basement with the worst paid jobs, the lowest taxes for the wealthy and the dirtiest places in which to live. It will enable Johnson to sign a deal with Donald Trump to force chlorinated chicken into our supermarkets, pressure our doctors to into paying big pharma inflated prices for drugs, and putting the NHS ‘on the table’ for sale to US health giants.
“But the most pressing concerns are the implications for the Northern Ireland peace process. Boris Johnson has never shown much interest in Northern Ireland and his proposals ignore the views of almost everyone who understands the politics and economics. The notion of borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland mean something very different compared to the rest of Europe. But Johnson is ready to force Northern Ireland into a system of double frontiers that will uniquely disadvantage business as well as make the daily lives of those living on or near the border miserable or worse. It is a shocking subversion of repeated promises to avoid any hardening of the border in Ireland.
“All of this is a million miles away from what voters were promised in 2016. Whether you voted Leave or Remain, you cannot have expected this outcome because the leaders of the leave campaign explicitly and repeatedly promised none of this would happen.
“It is precisely because what is now going to be on offer bears no relationship to what people were promised in 2016 that a final say referendum is now a democratic essential. Nobody voted to give Boris Johnson a blank cheque, and it is only fair and reasonable to say he should now ask for permission to go ahead with something so radically different from what he said he would deliver when he led that campaign.
“If Johnson refuses to listen and forces his deal or No Deal on the country without our consent it will be the start of years, or even decades, of political and economic chaos as successive governments fight to change or scrap successive agreements. Our country will become an international laughing stock as negotiations drag on and on.
“Only a People’s Vote offers a fair and democratic route out of the crisis.”