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
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