McDonnell urges Labour MPs considering backing the deal to study the detail first

PUBLISHED: 09:27 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:56 18 October 2019

John McDonnell is interviewed by breakfast television. Photograph: Sky.

John McDonnell is interviewed by breakfast television. Photograph: Sky.

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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said that Labour will not back Boris Johnson's Brexit deal "because we won't vote for anything that makes our constituents or our country poorer".

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He told the BBC it was a worse deal than Theresa May's own proposals - because at least there were commitments to workers rights in the plan.

"It will introduce checks and barriers on our border and well it is worse than Theresa May's deal because it removes those commitments that she was willing to offer about a level playing field to protect workers rights, environmental standards and consumer rights.

"It's a very bad deal we can't support it," he said.

Instead he called on the public to have the final say

McDonnell said there would be "consequences" for MPs in his party who voted for the Withdrawal Agreement, but would not say whether that included having the whip removed.

"This is a three-line whip and the chief whip, in the normal way, will determine the consequences for anyone who doesn't vote for it," the shadow chancellor said.

Asked what they might be, he replied: "I'm not the chief whip thank goodness; I've got enough on my plate."

MORE: Up to 20 Labour MPs could back Boris Johnson's Brexit deal

The Labour frontbencher said he did not think his party's MPs would go through the government lobby on Saturday once they studied the detail of the deal.

"I don't believe there are Labour MPs out there who will not think through the detail of this deal and then when they see the impact, particularly environmental, consumers' and workers' rights, will vote for it," Jeremy Corbyn's right-hand man added.

"This is up to the chief whip - I believe in the powers of persuasion. I believe we can persuade people and make sure, as they did over Theresa may's deal, vote against it because this deal is worse than Theresa May's. It is a sell-out."

The shadow chancellor said he believed if there was a general election Jeremy Corbyn would be the best leader for the job, adding that Corbyn is not the type of leader to be "selling" the UK out.

He continued: "Because that's what Boris Johnson has just done: he's sold our living standards, our jobs and yes he's sold out the DUP by the looks of it too."

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