British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson claimed on Monday that Britain would become a colony of the European Union (EU) under a potential trade deal outlined by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The Brexit-supporting cabinet minister joined a chorus of what was divided opinion after Corbyn, leader of Britain’s main opposition party, outlined Labour’s Brexit strategy, reports Xinhua.
Corbyn, in a key-note speech in Coventry, said Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive Britain-EU customs union to ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland.
Under current EU rules, membership of the customs union and the European single market would mean Britain having to accept free movement of people across the 500-million population bloc.
Prime Minister Theresa May has consistently rejected such a deal.
The Guardian, in its commentary, said Corbyn has not given a speech on Brexit for about a year and in the House of Commons he often avoids the subject.
“But today’s speech was well-crafted and substantial, and could potentially have a decisive impact on UK Brexit policy,” said the commentary.
Johnson did not mince his words, attacking Corbyn’s proposals: “Crumbling Corbyn betrays Leave voters, and all because he wants to win a commons vote. Cynical and deluded.”
Johnson said remaining in a customs arrangement would make Britain a colony of the bloc.
“Labour’s confused policy would be bad for jobs and wages, it would leave us unable to sign up to comprehensive free trade deals, and it doesn’t respect the result of the referendum. This is another broken promise by Labour,” International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was quoted as saying.
Carolyn Fairbairn, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Director-General, said the Labour leader’s commitment to a customs union will put jobs and living standards first by remaining in a close economic relationship with the EU.
“It will help grow trade without accepting freedom of movement or payments to the EU,” said Fairbairn.