Jeremy Corbyn: Voters do not trust politicians or the EU
Britons backed Brexit because they did not trust politicians or the European Union, Jeremy Corbyn has said in a New Year message which presents him as the anti-establishment option.
The Labour leader said he understands why people backed leaving the EU at June’s referendum, having spent more than 40 years in politics “taking on the establishment”.
He pledged not to obstruct Brexit, but stressed that Labour would not “stand by” as the UK prepares to quit the bloc and argued the party cannot allow ministers to “mess this up”.
“2016 will be defined in history by the referendum on our EU membership. People didn’t trust politicians and they didn’t trust the European Union,” he said.
“I understand that. I’ve spent over 40 years in politics campaigning for a better way of doing things, standing up for people, taking on the establishment, and opposing decisions that would make us worse off.
“We now have the chance to do things differently. To build an economy that invests and works for everyone across all our nations and regions.
“Labour accepts and respects the result of the referendum. We won’t be blocking our leaving the European Union, but we won’t stand by.
“Those in charge today have put the jobs market, housing, the NHS and social care in crisis. We can’t let them mess this up. It’s about everyone’s future.”
The Labour leader claimed that decisions made in Westminster are making people’s lives harder across the country, citing homelessness, increased waiting times in hospitals and problems in the social care system as evidence.
Pledging to “start afresh” in 2017, he said that Labour is the party that listens to and addresses the concerns of voters.
“Labour was founded to stand up for people, and we founded the institutions that do that day in, and day out, like our NHS,” he added.
“We are the party that listens to you and makes Britain better. Let’s do that, together, in 2017.”
Earlier this month the Guardian reported that Labour is planning to relaunch Mr Corbyn as a "left-wing populist" in the New Year as the party gears up for an early election.
According to the paper, senior party figures believe their leader can capitalise on the wave of anti-establishment feeling which has swept the globe in recent years.