Brexit deal bad for the environment
Environment groups have warned that Boris Johnson withdrawal agreement would be profoundly bad for the environment.
It would be easy enough to think Boris Johnson's deal is pretty much the same as Theresa May's apart from arrangements for the border with Northern Ireland. As ever, the devil is in the detail. This is not Mrs May's deal wrapped in tinsel. It would be profoundly worse for environmental protection.
In the struggle to avoid a catastrophic no-deal exit, we should not take our eye off the ball. Merely adding a referendum to a profoundly lousy deal would be a dangerous strategy.
If there is to be a referendum on the current withdrawal agreement, then it will need considerable amendment as it passes through parliament. It requires detailed scrutiny.
Theresa May's deal had binding commitments to maintain environmental standards during the transition period. This commitment has been stripped out from Boris Johnson's deal.
That is no accident. It is a deliberate move to make it easier to make trade deals with lower environmental standards.
Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, has said the Withdrawal Deal is a significant threat to the environment.
"The removal of the backstop from the UK means that from December 2020 there will be nothing to ensure that vital protection for nature and people won't merely be whittled away to please big business or traded for a quick and dirty trade deal with Donald Trump.
"The government keep promising that Brexit and future trade deals won't lead to a slashing of environmental protection, but they consistently refuse to put in place the legal means to stop that happening."
The opposition must insist, not only that no-deal is taken off the table, but that environmental standards are maintained in any withdrawal agreement.