BORIS FURY OVER NEW PLOT TO ‘FIDDLE’ BREXIT
PM writes to Corbyn savaging plan to give EU citizens the vote
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.”
Boris Johnson takes a selfie with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning
Sewn up...Boris at the John Smedley knitwear factory in Matlock, Derbyshire, yesterday