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Corbyn will tour Portugal to support anti-austerity drive

JEREMY CORBYN is to embark on a speaking tour of Portugal in support of the country’s new anti-austerity government, the Morning Star can reveal.
 
The Labour leader struck up a friendship with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa at a meeting of European socialist leaders in Brussels last week.
 
Now he has accepted an invitation to visit the country in the new year to address public rallies alongside shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
 
Mr Corbyn told the Star: “We’re going to do that in support of their anti-austerity programme. We’re building an anti-austerity coalition across Europe.
 
“The Greek government have had a terrible time and the European Central Bank has treated them disgracefully.
 
“The interesting government now is the Portuguese government and its anti-austerity programme.”
 
Mr Costa took office in unusual circumstances last month, when he ousted a minority conservative administration just 11 days after the country’s general election.
 
He now leads a minority Socialist Party government supported by communist and Left Bloc MPs.
 
The Labour leader believes the Portuguese premier can be a key ally in the fight against EU austerity.
 
During the party leadership contest, Mr Corbyn refused to rule out campaigning for Britain to leave the EU if David Cameron tried to “trade away” workers’ rights as part of his membership renegotiation.
 
The Star understands that shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn told Mr Corbyn that he would only join his cabinet on the condition that Labour backed the “Britain Stronger In” campaign.
 
But the Labour leader still has reservations about the effect of EU restrictions on public ownership and workers’ rights.
 
He told the Star: “I want to see a Europe that’s much more based on working-class solidarity and workers’ rights.
 
“And actually I would not want to see us join the eurozone and the European Central Bank.
 
“I voted against Maastricht [the 1992 Treaty on European Union] because it was a Europe based on free-market economics, rather than a Europe based on social security and workers’ rights.”

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