The Daily Telegraph
Corbyn accused of trying to sabotage Brexit
Opposition leader has put near-impossible conditions on Labour support for the final deal in Parliament
JEREMY CORBYN has been accused of trying to “sabotage” Brexit talks that begin this week by setting Theresa May a near-impossible target if she wants Labour’s support for the final deal.
The Leader of the Opposition said Labour MPs would only support the deal if it guaranteed “unfettered access” to the European market – something that has already been ruled out by the European Union.
By raising the prospect of a Parliamentary rebellion against the deal Mrs May secures, the Labour leader has given EU members a stick with which to beat the Prime Minister as she tries to get the best deal for Britain.
On Wednesday Mrs May will open the way for two years of negotiations when she invokes Article 50, the formal process of withdrawing from the EU. She will set out her key demands in a letter to the European Council. Setting out his own demands, Mr Corbyn told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “We’re very clear that there has to be unfettered access to the European market, otherwise the threat to jobs in this country is absolutely huge.
“Most of our manufacturing industries have a European sale and European supply chain in them. And if we don’t maintain this unfettered access to the European market then quite clearly those industries are very much at risk.”
When it was pointed out to him that European leaders had ruled out access to the single market, he was asked if he was “basically committing Labour voting against Brexit”.
Mr Corbyn replied: “No we’re not... we’re not at the position of knowing what the deal is yet.”
If Labour voted against the Brexit deal and persuaded enough Tory re- to bels to join them, it is possible that Mrs May could be defeated in Parliament when she presents the deal in two years’ time, meaning Britain would crash out of the EU with no deal at all.
Tory MP Philip Davies said: “He may be trying sabotage but it would be futile sabotage as we are either leaving with a deal or leaving without a deal. If he wants to leave without a deal then clearly he would be voting for the hardest possible Brexit. Is that what he is advocating?”
Mr Corbyn’s comments echoed the stance of shadow Brexit minister Sir Keir Starmer, who told the BBC’s An- drew Marr that Labour expected the Government to negotiate the “exact same benefits as the single market and the customs union”.
He said he was simply quoting an undertaking given by David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, to Parliament.
Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said Mr Corbyn’s demands were “absurd” and would be ignored. He said: “What they are trying to do is sound like they have a view. They are being heavily criticised by their own party for having no line, and he is trying to give them something to hang onto.”