Jeremy Corbyn hints that Labour would delay Brexit if it wins power
Jeremy Corbyn has dropped his biggest hint yet that Labour would delay Brexit if it won power.
The Labour leader said an extension of the two-year Article 50 process could be needed because “clearly there has to be time to negotiate”.
Labour has demanded a general election and promised to secure its own deal with Brussels, which would include continued membership of the EU customs union.
Yesterday, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said pushing back the 29 March Brexit date “may well be inevitable” as the parliamentary deadlock over Theresa May’s deal continues.
At a speech in Wakefield today, Mr Corbyn refused to go that far, but he insisted there was “no split” between himself and his top team.
“Moving into office at a period right up against the clock there would need to be time for that negotiation,” he said.
“So what Keir was doing was reflecting the practicalities of how that negotiation would be undertaken.”
Elsewhere, Mr Corbyn rejected an apparent olive branch from the Government after it emerged ministers were considering a fresh attempt too convince Labour MPs to back the Brexit deal.
Ministers are mulling support for an amendment from Labour pro-Brexit MP John Mann which would boost worker and environmental protections.
But unions group the TUC has said the plan “makes no change to a bad deal for working people’s jobs and rights” and will not be legally binding.
Mr Corbyn said: “We don’t endorse or accept what has been put forward and we agree with the TUC and other general secretaries that have already rejected that view.”
The Labour leader also dismissed suggestions his party could table a no-confidence motion in the Government immediately if the deal clinched by Mrs May is voted down on Tuesday.
He said he would move such a motion “at a time of our choosing” and when it has the best chance of winning - and he appealed to MPs from other parties to support it.