Corbyn launches election: ‘Remain in EU an option’

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn marching for the defence of steel jobs in Wales in 2016

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn, in launching his party’s election campaign yesterday, reiterated Labour’s plan for Brexit which means renegotiating another deal with the European Union ‘within six months’, and then calling another referendum in which: ‘We’ll let the people decide whether to leave with a sensible deal or remain.’

On domestic policy he put forward a radical programme, didn’t mention the word ‘socialism’ once and only focused on the UK while making the point the manifesto is currently being written.

He asked: ‘How about a decent pay rise? A real living wage of at least £10 an hour, right away including for young workers from the age of 16. Asking too much?

‘Secure homes that families can afford, rents that don’t break the bank and an end to rough sleeping. Is that too much to ask?

‘Thirty hours’ free childcare for all two to four year olds. A good education, from cradle to grave, as a right not a privilege and no tuition fees. Is that too much?

‘Ending the Conservatives’ great rip-off by putting rail, mail and water into public ownership so they work for everyone, not just Tory donors and shareholders in tax havens. Is that asking too much?

‘Friends, today is the 31st of October, the day Boris Johnson promised we would leave the EU. He said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than delay beyond today. But he has failed. And that failure is his alone. You can’t trust Boris Johnson.

‘After three long years of Brexit division and failure from the Tories, we have to get this issue sorted.

‘We need to take it out of the hands of the politicians and trust the people to have the final say.

‘Labour will get Brexit sorted within six months. We’ll let the people decide whether to leave with a sensible deal or remain. That really isn’t complicated.’

He concluded: ‘Labour will be out there in every city, town and village with the biggest and most confident campaign that our country has ever seen, bringing a message of hope and change to every community.

‘Even if the rivers freeze over, we’re going out to bring about real change for the many, not the few.

‘All we need to keep us warm is the thought of removing Boris Johnson’s Conservatives from government – and the chance to rebuild and transform our country.

‘This is the most radical and exciting plan for real change ever put before the British electorate.’

When asked in the question/answer session after the speech whether he would vote for remain in a new referendum he said: ‘We have to take no deal off the table, and that is why I refuse to support any move which would take this country out of the EU without a deal.

‘We refused to support a general election until it was absolutely confirmed by all 27-member states that an extension had been granted.

‘We will go into office and immediately open negotiations with the EU about a sensible relationship with Europe – one that doesn’t destroy jobs in Sunderland, doesn’t destroy jobs in south Wales or in Birmingham, or in north Wales, or all across the central belt of Scotland.

‘A deal which would mean that we would maintain trading relationship with Europe, we would have a Customs Union, which would mean that the relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic would be what it is now and the Good Friday Agreement would be intact, and the option of a sweetheart trade deal with Donald Trump, with all the dangers that offers, would not be an option.

‘Then within six months, that offer, alongside remain would be put to the British people and in the meantime our party will come together as we always do, discuss that and decide what to do.’

Meanwhile, the Tory prime minister Johnson visited Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where he said: ‘I’m incredibly frustrated that we haven’t been able to get Brexit done today.

‘We had a fantastic deal on the table.’

He said he would deliver Brexit and ‘bring the country together’, adding: ‘If you vote for us, and we get our programme through – which we will, because it’s oven-ready – then we can be out, at the very latest, by January next year.’

Johnson promised to ‘stimulate the wealth-creating sector’ if the Conservatives win the election, saying the contest was not about ‘background’ but a ‘vision for the country’.