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The left in Europe must fight as one, Corbyn says

Labour leader calls on European socialist leaders in Madrid to join fight against ‘daylight robbery’

PROGRESSIVE parties and movements across Europe should unite after Brexit to stamp out tax dodging and fight to end austerity, Jeremy Corbyn said today in Madrid.

The Labour leader told the Party of European Socialists meeting that together they could also slow down climate change and halt the growth of the far right.

He warned that tax-avoiding corporations could take advantage of any break in co-operation across borders, and said that European countries working together was vital to stopping such “daylight robbery” of multinational firms not paying enough tax.

Mr Corbyn referred to reports that Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of chemicals group Ineos, is set to reduce his tax bill after moving to Monaco, and James Dyson deciding to move his business base to Singapore.

He told fellow party leaders: “None of us can allow Britain’s exit from the European Union to be exploited by the whims of big business and the super-rich.”

Mr Corbyn said: “To build a new economic and environmental consensus, where wealth and power is shared across our communities, not hoarded by the 1 per cent, and our planet’s diversity is protected, progressive and popular forces in all countries need to work together.

“Companies who shift their accounting operations back and forth across borders to minimise their tax bills are carrying out daylight robbery.

“By failing to crack down on aggressive tax avoidance, Theresa May is allowing the British public to be ripped off and exposing the kind of Brexit she and her party want to deliver.

“She should not stand by as Jim Ratcliffe, who has lobbied against measures to tackle climate change, is reportedly preparing to squirrel away billions in Monaco.”

Mr Corbyn also held private meetings with prime ministers and party leaders to lay out Labour’s alternative Brexit plan, which he advocated as credible and negotiatiable with the EU.

This followed meetings in Brussels on Thursday — alongside shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey — to put forward Labour’s case for membership of a customs union and alignment with the single market.

The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt had said he had “open and constructive” talks with Mr Corbyn with a “consensus that a reckless no-deal should be off the table.”

He restated the EU Parliament’s plea for a “broad majority” to be found for a deal at Westminster through a cross-party approach.

Back in London shadow chancellor John McDonnell claimed the party was “moving closer” to support for a second referendum on EU membership.

Ms May will be heading to Egypt for the first ever EU-Arab summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh tomorrow, where she hopes to secure a breakthrough on the Brexit impasse over the Irish border backstop days before another crunch Commons vote on her plans.

But an EU official ruled out any “deal in the desert,” because not all the EU member states will be there.

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