Vote of no con­fi­dence com­ing this week, sug­gests Cor­byn

Labour leader gives no de­tails of party’s Brexit stance and fails to rule out free­dom of move­ment

The Daily Telegraph - - Countdown To Brexit - By Jack Maid­ment PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

JEREMY COR­BYN has sig­nalled that Labour will call a vote of no con­fi­dence in the Gov­ern­ment this week if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is re­jected.

The Labour leader would not com­mit to call­ing for a bal­lot in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the pre­dicted Gov­ern­ment de­feat to­mor­row evening.

But he opened the door to the vote tak­ing place be­fore the end of the week, say­ing: “It is go­ing to be soon, don’t worry about that.”

Mean­while, Mr Cor­byn re­peat­edly re­fused to guar­an­tee that Labour would cam­paign to de­liver Brexit at a snap gen­eral elec­tion.

He also sug­gested free move­ment of peo­ple from the Euro­pean Union to the UK could con­tinue after Brexit un­der a Labour gov­ern­ment.

Mr Cor­byn said the mat­ter would be “open to ne­go­ti­a­tion” and he was “not against the free move­ment of peo­ple” in com­ments likely to spark anger among Leave-back­ing Labour vot­ers.

MPS will vote to­mor­row on Mrs May’s deal, with the Prime Min­is­ter widely ex­pected to suf­fer a crush­ing de­feat.

Should her deal be re­jected, all eyes will turn to Mr Cor­byn to see when he will trig­ger a vote of no con­fi­dence in the Gov­ern­ment in a bid to force a gen­eral elec­tion.

Mr Cor­byn has re­mained tightlipped on the ex­act tim­ing of the vote but yes­ter­day gave the clear­est hint yet that it will hap­pen in the next five days.

He told the BBC’S An­drew Marr Show: “We will ta­ble a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the Gov­ern­ment at a time of our choos­ing. It is go­ing to be soon, don’t worry about that.”

Labour has said it wants a gen­eral elec­tion to break the Brexit im­passe but it re­mains un­clear ex­actly what the party’s po­si­tion on the is­sue would be should a snap poll take place.

Mr Cor­byn was asked re­peat­edly whether the party would pledge to de­liver Brexit but he would not be drawn.

He said: “Our man­i­festo will re­flect on the rea­sons why peo­ple voted the way they did in 2016.

“Peo­ple were very an­gry in those ar­eas that voted Leave, peo­ple were also very an­gry in those ar­eas that voted Re­main.”

Asked again what the party’s man­i­festo po­si­tion on Brexit would be, he said: “We have a man­i­festo com­mit­ment of 2017 which re­spects the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum.

“We have a com­pre­hen­sive con­fer­ence mo­tion last year, which in­cluded a num­ber of events, the first of which hap­pens on Tues­day. Ob­vi­ously our process will de­cide ex­actly what goes in the man­i­festo as soon as we know an elec­tion is com­ing.”

Mr Cor­byn’s re­marks are likely to buoy the hopes of many of the party’s pro-re­main ac­tivists who want Labour to fight to keep the UK in the EU.

The Labour leader also risked ig­nit­ing a row over free move­ment of peo­ple as he said the is­sue would be “open to ne­go­ti­a­tion” un­der a Labour gov­ern­ment. He told the BBC: “I am not against the free move­ment of peo­ple. What I want to end is the un­der­cut­ting of work­ers’ rights and con­di­tions, which has in­creas­ingly hap­pened in some parts of Western Europe.”

He added: “It will be open to ne­go­ti­a­tion but the point has to be about the treat­ment of EU na­tion­als in this coun­try, which we would rad­i­cally change straight away.”

Jeremy Cor­byn failed to say whether Labour would hon­our the Brexit ref­er­en­dum

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