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BRITAIN could fare better outside the European Union if the right Brexit deal is struck, Jeremy Corbyn suggested today.
The Labour leader hopes to negotiate a new withdrawal agreement with Brussels, which would then be put it to a public vote with the alternative being Remain. He has said that he would not campaign for either position.
His “credible option” for Brexit involves “five pillars” — a customs union, a trade relationship, safeguards for consumers, protections for the environment and workers, and the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
“We have discussed these several times with [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier and the European Union,” he said on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show when asked whether Britain would be better off leaving the trading bloc.
He added that he hoped Labour would hold a consultation after getting an offer from the EU on a “Remain and reform” option.
“Even those that are strongly in favour of Remain would recognise the EU needs to have some reforms,” he said.
Sarah Cundy of Lexit group Leave Fight and Transform (LeFT) welcomed Mr Corbyn’s comments but said that they are “at variance” with the positions of some shadow cabinet members “who have made clear that, for them, Labour is ‘the party of Remain’.”
She added: “While Corbyn has to try to navigate a complex field within Labour, the emerging position seems to pay lip service to those who voted to leave the EU, while shifting Labour to de facto position of Remain.
“This could prove disastrous for Labour, purely in electoral terms, and will undermine the possibility of building transformative socialist politics within Labour and beyond.”
The Communist Party executive warned that a pro-Remain stance could “cost Labour dear” at the next general election.
It trade union organiser Andy Bain said staying in the EU would “block, dilute and undermine” Labour’s left policies on public ownership, housing and workers’ rights.
However, the party said it would still support the election of a left-led Labour government “on a progressive manifesto at the earliest opportunity” and confirmed it would not stand candidates of its own against Labour at the next election provided Labour retains its left leadership and manifesto.
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