Senior Labour officials pointed to a new dossier from the People’s Vote campaign that highlights the risks – to the NHS, worker rights, food safety, the Irish border and internet regulation – of trusting the prime minister.
But Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, seized on the dossier to urge the party’s MPs to recognise that any deal signed by the prime minister would be “of the right, by the right and for the right”.
And Margaret Beckett, the former Labour foreign secretary, said: “Any MP who might be tempted to back it needs to recognise the likelihood that a Johnson Brexit will destroy jobs, undermine public services and usher in the kind of offshore deregulated pirate economy which is the stuff of right-wing Tory dreams – and our nightmares.”
The People’s Vote report argues that a Johnson deal would mean:
* A “race to the bottom” on tariffs and standards – forcing British firms to cut their own standards to avoid being put out of business by foreign competitors.
* Power is handed to unelected officials – because “unaccountable” officials, not MPs, would decide the details of free trade agreements.
* A “bonfire of workers’ rights” – highlighting Mr Johnson’s previous comments that “the weight of employment regulation is now back-breaking”.
* A hard border in Ireland – because even the proposers of so-called “alternative arrangements” to avoid border checks, outside the EU customs union and single market, acknowledge the solutions are years away.
Mr Watson, a strong supporter of a Final Say referendum, added: “A Boris Johnson Brexit deal would be the culmination of a decade-long project which is of the right, by the right and for the right. I hope Labour MPs will stay united in defence of our values.”
And Ms Beckett said: “Boris Johnson’s supporters would love to claim Labour support – and blame us afterwards for the consequences.”
The MPs for a Deal group wants the prime minister to revive ideas drawn up by Theresa May in cross-party talks in the spring, including plans for consumer protections and a vote on a customs union.
But No 10 has already scoffed at the move – and is instead seeking to back away from “level playing field” commitments in its talks with the EU.