The group of rebels said they do not want to play a part in waving through the Prime Minister’s free trade deal, which he announced on Christmas Eve after negotiators worked through the night. They have indicated they will either abstain or vote against the deal with just days before the UK leaves the Brexit transition period.
One opposition MP told the Daily Mail: “We don’t want to get Brexit blood on our hands.”
Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey, publicly came out in opposition to the deal, saying Boris Johnson’s “downgrade for the UK should not have any Labour fingerprints on it”.
Several frontbenchers are reportedly among those digging in their heels.
Reports suggested Labour frontbenchers Anneliese Dodds, Emily Thornberry, David Lammy and Bridget Phillipson wanted the party to abstain on the crunch vote.
Shadow Chancellor Ms Dodds wanted the Prime Minister to “own” a Brexit disaster, reports suggested.
But Sir Keir said Labour would back the deal “in the public interest” as it was better than a no-deal Brexit.
Hours after Mr Johnson made a victory speech announcing the details of his deal with Brussels, Sir Keir said MPs in his party would be whipped to vote in favour of the agreement in a special sitting of the Commons on Wednesday.
MPs will be recalled from their Christmas break to debate and vote on the last-minute trade accord, with the session starting at 9.30am.
Due to Mr Johnson’s hefty majority, the agreement will almost certainly be passed by Parliament.
Meanwhile, the EU’s 27 member states indicated they will within days give their formal backing to the deal, which covers about £660 billion of trade to allow goods to be sold without tariffs or quotas in the EU market.
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8.11am update: Johnson touts ‘big’ changes as Tory Brexiteers pore over deal
Boris Johnson has touted post-Brexit changes to business taxes and regulation next year as Conservative Eurosceptics scrutinised his trade agreement with the EU.
The Prime Minister said that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is “doing a big exercise on all of this” but insisted that the UK would not regress on workers’ rights or environmental standards.
Scrutiny of the treaty began in earnest when the 1,246-page document was officially published on the morning of Boxing Day – less than a week before its implementation.
It was quickly met with severe criticism from those working in the fishing industry who said they had been “sacrificed” in order to secure the deal with Brussels.
The Prime Minister said that, although he accepts that “the devil is in the detail” of the deal, he believes that it will stand up to inspection from the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteers.
The group has convened a self-styled “star chamber” of lawyers led by veteran Eurosceptic MP Sir Bill Cash to examine the full text ahead of a Commons vote.