Leading politicians in the Labour Party, still reeling from their worst election result since 1935, have voiced their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit withdrawal agreement ahead of the vote on the bill’s second reading in the House of Commons on Friday afternoon.
Defeated Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stressed that the party could not support the agreement, saying that a number of provisions regarding workers’ rights and the United Kingdom’s acceptance of child refugees have been withdrawn from the bill following the Tories’ election victory.
“We warned before the general election, the prime minister’s Brexit deal was a terrible deal for our country and we still believe it’s a terrible deal today,” Corbyn told the Commons.
In particular, Johnson’s new Brexit withdrawal agreement appears to have dropped a provision that outlined that unaccompanied children who have made claims for international protection in a EU member state can travel to the United Kingdom to join a relative.
“I want to make it clear that I see the government’s removal of the protections in this bill for unaccompanied children seeking asylum as nothing sort of an absolute disgrace and a piece of dishonesty,” Corbyn stated.
Issues regarding workers’ rights have also been postponed for a separate bill. However, Thursday’s Queen’s Speech will severely inhibit transport unions from striking.
“The prime minister, your leader, if I may say so Mr. Speaker, said workers’ rights were going to be protected. They are not in this bill,” Corbyn said in response to a question to Conservative politician Mark Francois.