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Thursday, February 07, 2019

Corbyn letter places Labour firmly on the side of the Brexiteers

While UK Ministers and Donald Tusk exchange insults over the Government's failure to properly prepare for Brexit, there has been an interesting development at home where Jeremy Corbyn has finally, and publicly, got off the fence and aligned the Labour Party behind the movement to leave the EU.

It has, of course, been clear for some time that Corbyn is a Brexiteer, but his letter to Theresa May setting out his party's five demands has finally confirmed that and, more importantly, shown that he has wrestled control of this agenda from more pro-EU figures such as Keir Starmer.

As the Independent reports, in his letter Corbyn calls for a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”, stating: “This would include alignment with the union customs code, a common external tariff and an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals.

“We believe that a customs union is necessary to deliver the frictionless trade that our businesses, workers and consumers need, and is the only viable way to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland.”

The paper adds that Labour also want a close alignment with the single market “underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution” as well participation in EU agencies and funding programmes. However it notably drops Labour’s previous demand to secure the ”exact same benefits” of the single market.

There are also calls for “unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases”.

This is a clear acceptance that the UK should leave the EU and drops any pretence that the party might support a further referendum on the terms of the deal, that would also provide the option of staying in.

The Liberal Democrats are now the only UK-wide party backing a further referendum on those terms and advocating an 'exit from Brexit'.
You are of course absolutely right Peter. I met a lady, a former London Labour MP, who said that Corbyn had been on the London committee of Labour MPs and was a pain in the proverbial, preventing them ever coming to a common position. So it is not just that he is opposed to Brexit - which is well known - it is that he is totally inflexible and takes no notice of differing views. He is like that and was always like that.

A leader has to take his party with him, and the Labour Party is now overwhelmingly anti-Brexit. But he insists on his cake and eat it approach threatening to split his party. This behaviour is consistent with his behaviour for 40 years. Why should we expect him to be different now?

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