October 18, 2019 / 9:32 PM / a month ago

Johnson promises parliament role in post-Brexit talks with EU

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the European Council after the Brexit-dominated European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government tried to win over lawmakers ahead of a crucial Brexit vote on Saturday, promising once the withdrawal deal was agreed, parliament would have a say on talks with the EU on trade and workers rights.

On Friday, Johnson’s Downing Street office said there would be a parliamentary vote on a ministerial statement regarding the objectives of the future negotiations with the European Union as well as once those talks have concluded.

“There will (be) regular reporting requirements to parliament throughout the negotiations, and a form of meaningful vote once the negotiations have concluded,” it said in a statement.

“We recognise that MPs (members of parliament) want to see... hard won rights protected, not weakened by our departure from the EU and we are happy to ensure this is the case.”

More than three years since Britons voted to leave the EU in June 2016, parliamentarians will be asked for a fourth time on Saturday to support a withdrawal agreement following a renegotiation with Brussels.

Johnson, who runs a minority government, is trying to win over as many lawmakers as possible from the opposition Labour Party but some are concerned that employment and environmental standards could be eroded as a future partnership is agreed.

The government said it would consult on improving unfair dismissal protections and that ministers would have to report regularly on new EU measures and whether they would mirror them.

The Labour Party’s employment rights spokeswoman Laura Pidcock dismissed the promises.

“The reality is that when MPs vote they will still be voting on a sell out Tory deal that provides no guarantees on these fundamental rights and would lead to a race-to-the-bottom on conditions for workers across the country and would worsen the climate crisis,” she said.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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