Boris Johnson has fuelled fears that workers’ rights and environmental safeguards will be ditched after Brexit after the government watered down a promise to enshrine them in law.
Downing Street suggested that the prime minister is no longer committed to pledges, made to MPs before the general election, to guarantee that standards will not be weakened when Britain leaves the EU.
A promise that MPs would be given a vote on whether or not to extend the transition period at the end of 2020 to avoid leaving the EU without a trade deal has also been ditched and will not be included in a key Brexit bill to be reintroduced this week.
The pledges were made by Mr. Johnson and his team in October as they attempted to convince MPs to vote for the prime minister’s Brexit deal.
The bill implementing the deal passed its early stages in the Commons before Mr. Johnson opted to pull the plug and instead call a general election. The subsequent poll delivered a governing majority of 80 for the Conservatives.
The government plans to reintroduce the withdrawal agreement bill, which implements Mr. Johnson’s deal, this week. No 10 said it would be based on the deal that the prime minister secured with the EU, and would not necessarily include the guarantees made since then.
The original draft of the legislation included provisions to ensure that workers’ rights were not weakened after Brexit. Under questioning from MPs in October, Mr. Johnson also promised to include a similar measure on environmental protections.
However, No 10 refused to say that the guarantees would be in the revised draft being brought back this week.
Mr. Johnson’s spokesperson said: “We plan to start the process before Christmas and will do so in the proper constitutional way in consultation with the speaker.”
The spokesperson said the new version of the bill would reflect the agreement reached with Brussels in October, indicating that it will not necessarily feature any concessions made by ministers to MPs since then.
Read rest at The Independent
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