Labour will today unveil plans to frustrate Brexit by scrapping the Tories’ Great Repeal Bill, raising the prospect of a second European Union referendum.
Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Exiting the EU secretary, will commit Labour to a new EU Rights and Protections Bill to ensure there is no change to workers’ rights, consumer rights or environmental protections.
Sir Keir will also say that – unlike Theresa May, the Tory leader – Labour will not walk away from the European Union without any agreement, saying it “will not accept ‘no deal’ as a viable option”.
A Labour Government will also scrap the Tories’ Brexit White Paper, which set out the Government's plans for Brexit, and “replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union”.
The plans will be seen as a bid by Labour to move towards the more EU-friendly Liberal Democrats and SNP ahead of a possible talks about a minority or coalition Government after the general election.
Conservative Eurosceptic MPs said the scale of the plans would make it difficult for Jeremy Corbyn, as Prime Minister, not to agree to hold a second referendum.
Iain Duncan-Smith, the former Tory Cabinet minister, said: “The truth is that Labour is running scared that the Liberal Democrats will steal their votes.
“It is clear and obvious that they are in the worse of all worlds - they are in effect opposing Brexit and raising the prospect of a second referendum but haven't got the guts to say so.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP added: “Clearly what he wants to do is scrap Brexit. He is using code for this by referencing other issues.
“The only person this will please is Tony Blair as the Labour Party abandons all its voters outside London.”
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has already pledged a new Great Repeal Bill to repatriate EU regulations into UK law to ensure that Brexit is implemented with as little upheaval as possible.
Sir Keir will say EU Rights and Protections Bill “will make sure that all EU-derived laws – including workplace laws, consumer rights and environmental protections – are fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses.
“We will work with trade unions, businesses and stakeholders to ensure there is a consensus on this vital issue. A Labour approach to Brexit will ensure there can be no rolling back of key rights and protections.”
Sir Keir will say: “A Labour Government will set out a new Brexit strategy. We will scrap the Government’s Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that reflect Labour values and our six tests.
"The White Paper will have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union as Labour know that is vital to protecting jobs and the economy.
“And we will approach negotiations in a completely different way to a Tory Brexit: negotiating for the many, not the few."
Sir Keir will say that – unlike Theresa May, the Tory leader – Labour will not walk away from the European Union without any agreement, saying it “will not accept ‘no deal’ as a viable option”.
In a sop to the SNP, which could have to support a minority Labour Government, by transferring powers directly “from the EU will go straight to the relevant region or nation”.
Labour will also seek to settle transitional arrangements early in the negotiations and will “unilaterally guarantee legal rights for all EU nationals living in the UK and seek reciprocal rights for UK citizens in the EU”.
Sir Keir will say: “A Labour approach to Brexit also means a new approach to how we treat EU nationals in the UK.
“It is shameful that the Prime Minister rejected repeated attempts by Labour to resolve this before Article 50 was triggered.
“As a result three million EU nationals have suffered unnecessary uncertainty, as well as the 1.2 million UK citizens living in the EU.
"EU nationals do not just contribute to our society: they are our society. And they should not be used as bargaining chips.”
Dominic Raab MP, member of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee, said: "There is a real risk of Jeremy Corbyn – with the support of the SNP and Lib Dems – becoming Prime Minister and being in charge of the Brexit negotiations. He is a weak leader of a divided party who couldn’t get the right deal for the United Kingdom."
Asked what Labour's position on Brexit is, Lord Mandelson told BBC Newsnight: "Search me."