Labour will work with Tory rebels to stop “reckless” plan to exit Euratom nuclear treaty

Labour has vowed to work with a growing number of Tory rebels to keep the UK in the Euratom treaty that oversees nuclear safety and research.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said the government must ensure Britain remains part of the European atomic energy community by dropping its aim of leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice or risk defeat in the Commons.

He said: “It’s increasingly clear that the government acted recklessly by giving up on membership of Euratom. As with so many aspects of the prime minister’s Brexit strategy, she has let ideological obsessions – in this case preventing any future role for the European Court of Justice – take priority over safeguarding jobs and the economy.”

The intervention came after former Tory minister Ed Vaizey issued a joint warning over the weekend with Labour MP Rachel Reeves about the treaty’s vital role in protecting the UK’s nuclear power industry, which employs around 78,000 people.

At least nine Tory MPs have signalled they are willing to vote with Labour and the Lib Dems over Euratom, leaving the government vulnerable to defeat despite their deal with the DUP.

Even if Britain becomes an associate member of the treaty it will still need to recognise the European Court of Justice, something Theresa May has said will not happen after Brexit.

Adding to the pressure on the government, radiologists have also warned that leaving the treaty could affect cancer treatment in the UK.