UK Opposition Labour commits to anti-Brexit campaign

London, Jul 9 (PTI) Britain’s Opposition Labour Party on Tuesday called on the next British Prime Minister to call another referendum before taking the UK out of the European Union (EU) as it committed to campaign for the remaining in the 28-member economic bloc in such a vote.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party has decided to take a firmer anti-Brexit stance in order to prevent a “no deal or a damaging Tory Brexit” once either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt take over from Theresa May later this month.
“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, said Corbyn in an email addressed to the Labour Party members.
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,” he said.
The UK Opposition’s latest Brexit stance follows a series of meetings with its trade union membership base and pressure from within the Shadow Cabinet.
Senior Labour MP Hilary Benn, who chairs the House of Commons Brexit Select Committee, described it as a “big step forward”.
“We can now see there is nothing that can be better negotiated that is better for jobs, that is better than the deal we currently have,” said Benn, one of the prominent pro-Remain voices.
There have been growing demands for the Labour Party to clearly spell out its stand on Brexit, offering an obvious contrast to the ruling Conservative Party.
The party’s affiliated trade unions have backed its latest move and have also called for a “confirmatory vote” on any new deal that was negotiated in the event that the Labour Party won a future General Election.
In his statement, Corbyn said Labour continued to believe the “compromise plan” set out for Brexit during cross-party talks with the government earlier this year was still a “sensible alternative that could bring the country together”.
This included alignment with the EU through a Customs Union, a strong single market relationship and the protection of environmental regulations and rights at work.
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, Corbyn said.
He renewed calls for a General Election in the letter, saying Labour had a “crucial, historic duty to safeguard jobs, rights and living standards, but no Brexit outcome alone can do that.”
But he did not spell out if Labour would pursue a new deal or a further referendum if the party won a General Election – or stick to its manifesto commitment to accept the 2016 referendum result in favour of Brexit.
Britain is set to leave the EU by the extended Brexit deadline of October 31 agreed by the caretaker Prime Minister Theresa May.
The new leader who steps into Downing Street at the end of an ongoing leadership contest will have to work out a strategy for the exit, with both Johnson and Hunt warning that crashing out of the economic bloc without any deal in place remains a likelihood.