ASKED if he would take the blame if Britain votes to leave the EU tomorrow, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn replied: ‘I’m not going to take the blame for people’s decisions.’
Speaking to a live audience of 18-35 year-olds on Sky TV yesterday, Corbyn said: ‘There will be a decision made on Thursday. I’m hoping there is going to be a Remain vote, there may well be a Remain vote, there may well be a Leave vote.’
Told he did not sound ‘too keen’ on the EU, he replied: ‘Whatever the result, we have got to work with it.’ Corbyn told the audience of young voters the referendum was ‘a big decision’. ‘If we stay in Europe there are implications; if we leave Europe there are massive implications.’
He criticised the proposed EU-US TTIP trade deal, saying it would ‘import the worst working conditions and standards from the US into Europe’, and said Europe ‘shields tax havens’.
Corbyn also said he wanted to join other nations in challenging EU rules preventing state aid to the steel industry, saying national governments should be ‘assertive’. Vote Leave said leaving the EU was the way to help the UK’s steel industry, adding that Brussels ‘works for elites but not for working families’.
In his only live set-piece television appearance of the campaign, Corbyn acknowledged his support for the 28-nation bloc was not ‘unconditional’. However, he claimed that while he had ‘issues’ with the EU, it was better to stay in and try to change it.
‘But’ he said, ‘it is also a turning point because if we leave I don’t think there is an easy way back. If we remain, I believe Europe has got to change quite dramatically to something much more democratic, much more accountable and share our wealth and improve our living standards and our working conditions all across the whole continent.’
Corbyn also slammed the EU’s response to the refugee crisis, labelling it as ‘appalling’. However, he added: ‘But I would also say that if we are to deal with issues like climate change, like environmental issues, you cannot do it within national borders, you can only do it across national borders.
‘The refugee crisis has to be dealt with internationally, not just nationally,’ he said. I’m not a lover of the European Union. However, I think it’s a rational decision.’ Corbyn, in the past a known opponent of the EU, is clearly a prisoner of Labour’s right wing.