"I can't imagine any Brexit deal emerging that will protect the jobs and livelihoods of my constituents, that will protect our rights and the environment. I believe Labour should have nothing to do with this Tory deal and vote against it", declared John McDonnell MP at the Another Europe Is Possible AGM on 12 December 2020.
The next day, 13 December, Ed Miliband as Shadow Business Secretary gave the strongest hint so far that the Labour front bench is, as he put, “minded to support” a deal, apparently more or less whatever is in it.
As well as ending free movement between Britain and Europe - already legislated by the Tories - a last-minute deal is likely to license the Tories to degrade social and environmental provisions below EU standards, only with some proviso that if they go too far that way, the EU has procedures to retaliate through tariffs.
The Financial Times has reported: "The [EU's] idea was to raise the joint floor for standards to a new level below which they could not then be cut, with fallback measures in the absence of an agreement.
"Mr Johnson opposed that idea, fearing a future Labour government could work with the EU to introduce 'anti-business' regulations, making it impossible for a future Tory government to cut them without incurring sanctions."
Now Johnson is pushing for a license to cut those Labour-legislated regulations he fears. It makes no sense for Labour to vote to approve that license.