Left-wingers warn Jeremy Corbyn: Don't back the Tories on Brexit

Posted On: 
1st June 2018

Left-wing campaigners will pile pressure on Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to shift his position on Brexit - warning that leaving the EU will clobber the party’s working class supporters.

One trade union chief warned the Labour leader that backing Brexit was "unacceptable class collaboration"

The Labour leadership has vowed to respect the result of the 2016 referendum, and Mr Corbyn has angered some of his MPs for refusing to rule out backing the final Brexit deal agreed by Theresa May.

But a new ‘Left Against Brexit’ tour is set to kick off over the summer, with speakers including Manuel Cortes, boss of the transport union TSSA, and Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas among those pressing Mr Corbyn to change tack.

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While the group will not call for a second referendum on leaving the EU, they will urge Mr Corbyn to shift the party's position in favour of Remain in order to give voters a clear choice at the next general election.

"There is nothing about Brexit that will make life better for the working class," Mr Cortes said.

"It was a rightwing brainchild won – and only narrowly – on a deceitful programme of dog-whistle racism and the big lie that the NHS would get £350m a week."

The union chief added: "The left should unite now and come together to stop this Tory act of war against our class. Our job is always to defend our people against the boss class. Supporting Tory/Ukip Brexit is unacceptable class collaboration. Full stop."

Other speakers slated to appear on the nationwide tour include Labour MEPs Julie Ward and Seb Dance.


In a fresh sign of the party's splits over membership of the EU, two shadow cabinet aides yesterday publicly defied Mr Corbyn to call for a second vote on the final deal.

Anna McMorrin and Tonia Antoniazzi - who both serve as parliamentary private secretaries to shadow cabinet members - signed an open letter urging "a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal".

The party has ruled out such a move, with the then-Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Smith sacked from his post earlier this year for making the same call. PoliticsHome understands that both MPs have since been spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities - but the Conservatives urged Mr Corbyn to go further.

"If Labour really respects the decision the people took in the referendum, they must remove Anna McMorrin and Tonia Antoniazzi from their positions," Brexit Minister Stella Braverman said. "Labour’s behaviour has shown a determination to frustrate Brexit, and a failure to act now would confirm they have no interest in working to make a success of it."