PM writes to Cor­byn sav­aging plan to give EU cit­i­zens the vote

Daily Express - - Front Page - By Macer Hall Po­lit­i­cal Editor

BORIS John­son last night ac­cused Jeremy Cor­byn of plot­ting to “fid­dle” a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum in favour of Re­main by giv­ing the vote to two mil­lion EU cit­i­zens.

In a fu­ri­ous let­ter to his elec­tion ri­val, the Prime Min­is­ter sav­aged Labour for promis­ing a new Brexit poll if the party wins power.

And he said its man­i­festo com­mit­ment to in­clude ar­rivals was ev­i­dence the Labour leader wanted to over­turn the re­sult of the 2016 vote to quit the EU. Mr John­son warned the move could “cre­ate in­cred­i­ble bit­ter­ness that might take decades to re­pair.” His at­tack in­ten­si­fied the an­gry Gen­eral Elec­tion de­bate over Brexit with un­der a week to go be­fore the polls

close and the na­tion’s fate is de­cided. Mr John­son’s let­ter was a sign that the Tories aim to shift the de­bate back to the is­sue for the fi­nal fran­tic days of the cam­paign.

The Prime Min­is­ter told Mr Cor­byn: “I urge you in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms to re­con­sider this pol­icy be­fore the elec­tion on Thurs­day.

“Can­celling the re­sult of the 2016 ref­er­en­dum is dan­ger­ous enough.

“Your ap­proach has al­ready done se­ri­ous harm to trust in demo­cratic pol­i­tics and can­celling the re­sult of the pre­vi­ous ref­er­en­dum be­fore it has even been im­ple­mented will do more dam­age.

“But your pol­icy of giv­ing mil­lions of for­eign cit­i­zens the vote in or­der to over­turn the ref­er­en­dum would cre­ate in­cred­i­ble bit­ter­ness that might take decades to re­pair.

“Imag­ine how peo­ple will feel if the big­gest demo­cratic ex­er­cise in our history is over­turned be­cause you gave two mil­lion EU cit­i­zens the power to re­verse Brexit.

“It would alien­ate mil­lions who al­ready feel dis­en­fran­chised and ig­nored by our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.”

Labour’s man­i­festo com­mits a gov­ern­ment led by Mr Cor­byn to give the vote to “all UK res­i­dents” in the sec­ond EU ref­er­en­dum pro­posed by the party. Se­nior Tories have es­ti­mated the move would add an ex­tra two mil­lion vot­ers to the UK elec­torate be­cause the pledge would in­clude all EU cit­i­zens set­tled in the coun­try.

Aca­demic re­search sug­gested nine out of ten of the po­ten­tial new vot­ers were likely to back Re­main in a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, they said.

The Tories es­ti­mated that Leave would need 500,000 more votes than in 2016 to win a new in-or-out ref­er­en­dum on the coun­try’s EU mem­ber­ship.

Mr John­son’s let­ter told the Labour leader: “This elec­tion was called be­cause our grid­locked Par­lia­ment was un­able to de­liver the prom­ise that MPs of all par­ties made – to re­spect the ref­er­en­dum. You and your party voted to block Brexit re­peat­edly.

“Your pol­icy is to can­cel the re­sult of the last ref­er­en­dum and to hold another one.”

Point­ing out that Mr Cor­byn was op­posed to an Aus­tralian-style points sys­tem for im­mi­gra­tion, the Prime Min­is­ter con­tin­ued: “You will not only con­tinue free move­ment with the EU but your pol­icy is ex­tend it to the en­tire world. Even worse, your man­i­festo sets out plans to fid­dle your sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on Brexit. You want to give two mil­lion EU na­tion­als the vote in your ref­er­en­dum.

“This is a sly at­tempt to un­der­mine the re­sult of the 2016 ref­er­en­dum, and is pro­foundly undemocrat­ic.

“No true demo­crat, even the most ar­dent sup­porter of Re­main, could sup­port your at­tempt to un­der­mine the re­sult of a demo­crat­i­cally ex­pressed vote.”

The let­ter con­cluded: “We al­ready face a real cri­sis of trust in our pol­i­tics.

“It’s hard to imag­ine a pol­icy that would do more to worsen this cri­sis than your plan.

Very few vot­ers are aware of your pol­icy. I fear that if peo­ple vote to give you and Ni­cola Stur­geon con­trol and you do what you have said in your man­i­festo, it will cre­ate the worst cri­sis in demo­cratic pol­i­tics in over a cen­tury. Please re­con­sider be­fore the elec­tion.” Mr John­son also rub­bished Labour’s plan for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum – sup­posed to give vot­ers a choice be­tween a new Brexit deal ne­go­ti­ated by Mr Cor­byn or stay­ing in the bloc – dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion yes­ter­day.

He said: “I think the whole pro­posal from the Labour Party is bizarre. They want to spend

another three months ne­go­ti­at­ing a new deal. They won’t ex­plain what it is.

“We can’t find a sin­gle mem­ber of the shadow cab­i­net who would sup­port this new deal that Mr Cor­byn wants to do.

“I don’t un­der­stand what he ac­tu­ally in­tends by this ne­go­ti­a­tion.”

He added: “To think that it’s go­ing to be rigged in some way by get­ting in mil­lions more vot­ers who would be very likely to vote one way rather than the other would cre­ate a great deal of pub­lic dis­quiet.

“I don’t think it’s the right way for­ward.”

Pic­ture: REX

Boris John­son takes a selfie with Phillip Schofield and Holly Wil­loughby on This Morn­ing

Pic­tures: REUTERS & PA

Sewn up...Boris at the John Smed­ley knitwear fac­tory in Mat­lock, Der­byshire, yes­ter­day

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