Johnson ‘playing Russian roulette’ with people’s livelihoods over Brexit, say Labour

Boris Johnson is playing Russian roulette with people’s jobs and livelihoods by threatening a no-deal Brexit, a Labour minister has said.

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband warned that leaving the EU without a free trade agreement would be “a disastrous outcome” and accused the Prime Minister of being “cavalier” with the country’s national interests.

Labour’s communities secretary Steve Reed said the British people “cannot tolerate” a no-deal outcome and urged Mr Johnson to “get Brexit done” as Sunday’s trade talks deadline loomed.

It came as Mr Miliband confirmed that his party would be “minded to support” any potential trade agreement negotiated between the UK and the EU, although they would want to “look at the detail” before doing so.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Miliband said: “I say no-deal is a disastrous outcome for the country, it is not a wonderful outcome and it is a disgrace, frankly, that Boris Johnson said it.”

Asked if Labour would vote for a deal if it were achieved, the shadow business secretary said his party will “look at the detail”.

Pushed further, he added: “We’ve said we’re minded to support it.”

Mr Miliband continued: “(Boris Johnson) has been cavalier. This is a man who is cavalier with our national interest and, frankly, Andrew, he is playing Russian roulette with the jobs and livelihoods of people up and down the country.

“How dare he say it’ll be a wonderful outcome when we know the impact (of a no-deal) on our farmers?”

He added: “I think it is ideological, Andrew, this; I think people have to understand this. This is about the vision of the country we have in the future.

“Do we want a country with high standards on the environment, high standards on workers’ rights, or do we want a country where we race to the bottom, where we try and deregulate our way to economic success?

“It is about the vision of Britain, this, it is in the end about what vision you have of the country and I say we don’t deregulate our way to economic success.”

Meanwhile, Mr Reed told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “The last thing we need is no-deal in these circumstances.

“It is one year and one day exactly since Boris Johnson won an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons, promising to get Brexit done with an oven-ready Brexit deal that he had ready to agree with the European Union.

“Now we are right at the 11th hour, aren’t we? The deal is not yet done, it needs to be got over the line because we cannot tolerate in this country the damage that a no-deal Brexit would do – and nor can we tolerate the uncertainty that a no-deal Brexit would do.”

He added: “A no-deal Brexit would simply mean the negotiations are restarted again next month, only Britain would be in a far weaker position. So Boris Johnson needs to now do what he told the country a year ago he was ready to do, and get Brexit done.”