Jeremy Corbyn has penned a letter to Labour members outlining Labour’s position on Brexit.
The Labour leader said any deal struck by the Conservatives, or no-deal, should go to another referendum.
He said: “In those circumstances, I want to make it clear that Labour would campaign for Remain”.
Mr Corbyn came under pressure last night after trade union leaders agreed Labour should support a second referendum on any Brexit deal.
Deputy Leader Tom Watson said: “Remain is who we are. Our values are remain, our hearts are remain” in an impassioned plea to the electorate.
In the event of a General Election, Labour’s manifesto position will be to:
- Negotiate a deal with the EU to respect Brexit vote
- Any final deal then put back to the people
- Ballot paper would have Labour deal vs Remain
What did Jeremy Corbyn’s letter say?
Jeremy Corbyn closed Labour’s Brexit consultation by challenging the next prime minister to put their deal to the people in a referendum, in which Labour would campaign for remain against No Deal or a damaging Tory Brexit.
In a letter to members, Corbyn said:
I am proud to lead the Labour Party – the greatest political party and social movement in this country.
We all recognise that the issue of Brexit has been divisive in our communities and sometimes in our party too.
As democrats, Labour accepted the result of the 2016 referendum. In our 2017 manifesto, Labour also committed to oppose a No Deal Brexit and the Tories’ Brexit plans – which threatened jobs, living standards, and the open multicultural society that we as internationalists value so much.
I want to pay tribute to Keir Starmer and the shadow Brexit team for holding the Government to account during this process. That helped secure a meaningful vote on their deal – which we then defeated three times – including inflicting the largest ever defeat on any Government. And following their refusal to publish their legal advice, this Government became the first to be held in contempt of Parliament.
Labour set out a compromise plan to try to bring the country together based around a customs union, a strong single market relationship and protection of environmental regulations and rights at work. We continue to believe this is a sensible alternative that could bring the country together.
But the Prime Minister refused to compromise and was unable to deliver, so we ended cross-party talks.
Now both Tory leadership candidates are threatening a No Deal Brexit – or at best a race to the bottom and a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump: that runs down industry, opens up our NHS and other public services to yet more privatisation, and shreds environmental protections, rights at work and consumer standards.
I have spent the past few weeks consulting with the shadow cabinet, MPs, affiliated unions and the NEC. I have also had feedback from members via the National Policy Forum consultation on Brexit.
Whoever becomes the new Prime Minister should have the confidence to put their deal, or No Deal, back to the people in a public vote.
In those circumstances, I want to make it clear that Labour would campaign for Remain against either No Deal or a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs.
Labour has a crucial, historic duty to safeguard jobs, rights and living standards. But no Brexit outcome alone can do that.
We need a general election. After nine years of austerity, too many people in this country cannot find decent secure well-paid work, and have to rely on public services that have been severely cut back.
Our country is ravaged by inequality and rising poverty, huge regional imbalances of investment, and the government is failing to tackle the climate emergency facing us all.
That is why we need a Labour government to end austerity and rebuild our country for the many not the few.
A Q&A has also been distributed to Labour Party MPs clearing up certain key questions. These include:
Does Labour support Remain in all circumstances?
- The Tory leadership contenders are moving towards an ever more extreme version of Brexit, and should have the confidence to put their deal back before the people
- A public vote on any deal is now necessary to secure public support, because this has dragged on for over three years, causing huge uncertainty
Does Labour just want to stop Brexit?
- Labour accepted the result of the referendum and voted to trigger Article 50
- But we are now three years on from the referendum, and business is facing further uncertainty. Jobs are at risk. We need to get this resolved by going back to the people.
Are you betraying Labour leave voters?
- It is this Government that has failed to deliver on the referendum, failed to back a compromise that could win support in Parliament, and has caused huge economic uncertainty and put jobs at risk
- The No Deal being threatened by both Tory leadership candidates would be disastrous for our economy and would cost jobs. It is irresponsible, and is not what anyone voted for in 2016
- Labour will invest in all parts of the country, end austerity, and bring our country together with a positive programme. Whether you voted Leave or Remain that is the real issue facing us
- We continue to believe Labour’s compromise plan is a sensible alternative that could bring the country together, but the Tories have refused to compromise
What would Labour’s Brexit policy be in its General Election manifesto?
- Unlike the Tories, Labour’s manifesto is democratically agreed – so that will be up to the party, members and unions, at the time an election is confirmed
- Our policy will also depend on when the next General Election is called and what mess the Tories have left behind
- But we have said we need a credible deal to stop from crashing out with No Deal – and that deal should be put to a public vote along with the option to remain.