LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn and his shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer were in Brussels yesterday putting forward Labour’s position to the leaders of the European Union which includes ruling out a no-deal Brexit, remaining in a permanent customs union, and putting whatever is decided in parliament to a ‘people’s vote’.
When asked by reporters a question about a second referendum, Corbyn said: ‘We will put a motion to parliament as I have already. Keir Starmer and myself put a motion to parliament which included the option of a popular vote to confirm or otherwise, agreements that have been reached. That was rejected by parliament at that stage, but clearly it is very much part of the agenda put forward by the Labour Party.’
When asked about whether the EU would implement Labour’s plan for a permanent customs union, Corbyn replied: ‘Look, we can’t negotiate. We are not the government. What we can do is set out what our objectives are as a Labour Party, as the opposition in parliament. We have done that.
‘What I would say is that the threat of no deal is something that has deeply perplexed people throughout the European Union. They are very worried about the consequences of it, and that was conveyed in no uncertain terms, that is why we are determined to get no-deal taken off the table.’
He said: ‘We have had very frank discussions with representatives of the European Union and of course Barnier. The danger of a no-deal exit from the European Union from Britain is a very serious and a very present one.
‘We from the Labour Party have made it very clear that we do not countenance a no-deal exit because of the danger to jobs and supply chains in the manufacturing industry as well as the food processing and many other industries.
‘We put forward what we believe to be a credible process which would be to negotiate a customs union with the European Union and alignment to ensure market access. We are strongly of the belief that these proposals are credible, that has been confirmed by our meetings today and can be quickly negotiated.
‘The problem is that the prime minister is insisting on her deal which has already been defeated very heavily in parliament and running down the clock by trying to keep the threat of no-deal on the table with all the damage that does.
‘So when we return to parliament we will continue to put what we believe to be a sensible and credible way forward which would protect jobs, and protect the living standards in Britain and make sure there isn’t the disruption of what would be a very dangerous no-deal exit from the European Union and very damaging to the economic interests to people in this country and of course within the European Union itself.’
He told reporters that he was prepared to meet Theresa May again and that he will ‘happily’ meet with her and discuss her Brexit deal.