LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn joined the chorus of critics attacking David Cameron’s EU renegotiation rhetoric yesterday, saying his changes did nothing to tackle the real issues facing Britain.
After months of intensive talks with EU leaders, the Prime Minister claimed on Friday that he had won a “special status” for Britain in Europe.
The deal agreed in Brussels included an “emergency break” on benefits for migrant workers and a commitment for business “burden reduction.”
Presenting the deal to Parliament yesterday, Mr Cameron said the reforms would give Britain the “best of both worlds.”
But Mr Corbyn told the PM that it was “more than disappointing” that his renegotiation failed to address the real challenges, such as climate change, global tax avoidance, workers’ rights or the threat of US-EU trade deal TTIP.
“The changes the Prime Minister has secured do nothing to address the issues of low pay in Britain, undercutting of local wage rates and industry-wide pay agreements,” said the Labour leader.
“It won’t put a penny in workers’ pockets in Britain or stop the grotesque exploitation of many migrant workers.”
And he declared: “The reality is that this entire negotiation has not been about the challenges facing our continent, neither has it been about facing the issues facing the people of Britain.
“It’s been a theatrical sideshow about trying to appease, or failing to appease, half of the Prime Minister’s own Conservative Party.”
The PM had ended his own statement with a thinly veiled barb at Boris Johnson, who declared his support for the Leave campaign on Sunday.
Critics of the mayor of London have suggested his decision was inspired by his Tory leadership aspirations.
And Mr Cameron said: “Let me end by saying this. I am not standing for re-election. I have no other agenda than what is best for our country.”
But in a further sign of Tory discord, a Downing Street spokeswoman confirmed that today’s Cabinet meeting would not be a “political Cabinet” — meaning Mr Johnson will be excluded.
“Our message to everyone, bearing in mind it is people up and down the country who will have a vote rather than just one individual, is that we want Britain to have the best of both worlds,” the spokeswoman said.