When Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal comes to a vote in the Commons on Wednesday, expect a bigger rebellion on the Labour benches than among Tory MPs. This afternoon, the European Research Group of Conservative eurosceptics have given their approval to the Brexit deal. After studying the agreement, the ERG ‘star chamber’ – led by Bill Cash – concluded that the deal is ‘consistent with the restoration of UK sovereignty’.
In terms of the pros and cons of what has been agreed, the group say ‘the “level playing field” clauses go further than in comparable trade agreements’ they have concluded that their impact ‘on the practical exercise of sovereignty is likely to be limited if addressed by a robust government’. They have recommended that ERG members now back the deal.
This means that there will little in the way of a Tory rebellion tomorrow. Instead the place to look for disunity will be Labour. While Keir Starmer has said Labour will back the deal, that decision has been met with scepticism by some in the party. Starmer is facing potential resignations in terms of some junior shadow ministers while those on the left of the party have also voiced their concerns. Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has accused Starmer of ‘falling into the trap of rallying around this rotten deal’. Tomorrow’s vote will be more painful for Starmer than Johnson.
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