Brexit: UK moves to scrap ‘level playing field’ with EU

Posted On: 
5th October 2019

Boris Johnson is scrapping a commitment made by Theresa May to stick to EU rules on workers’ rights, safety standards and the environment, according to reports. 

British negotiators are keen to abandon EU restrictions
PA Images

The “level playing field”, included in the Withdrawl Agreement negotiated by Mr Johnson’s predecessor, was a commitment to abide by certain rules in exchange for market access. 

But, according to the Sun newspaper, British negotiators are keen to abandon EU restrictions on genetically modified food – a key demand of American trade lobbyists. 

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One EU official with knowledge of the situation told the paper US trade officials had told their British counterparts that standards would need to be altered for there to be a chance of a post-Brexit trade deal. 

A Cabinet source said: “The level playing field has to go, and Boris is very clear about this. It would seriously restrict our ability to deregulate and do trade with other countries.” 

The news comes after a submission to the Court of Session in Edinburgh says the Prime Minister will obey the so-called Benn Act, the law passed by MPs forcing him to request a three-month extension to the 31 October deadline.

This is despite Mr Johnson previously insisting he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask for another delay.

The document was revealed by Aidan O'Neill QC, the lawyer acting for campaigners who want judges to issue an interdict, or injunction, forcing the PM to delay exit day if no agreement is signed off by 19 October.