Speaking in Harlow today, Jeremy Corbyn laid out Labour’s position on Brexit. The positions being adopted by the Tories and the Lib Dems are both polarising. The Tories still want a hard Brexit, which will destroy workers rights while enriching their friends. The confirmation that they will not agree any extension beyond 2020 underlines this.
The Lib Dems want to ignore the concerns of the many working class voters who voted to leave the EU in protest at the destruction of their communities, families and lives. They want to revoke article 50 without going back to the people.
Both positions reflect the interests of different parts of the establishment. Neither reflects the interests of the vast bulk of the population.
With the Tory line hardening from a relatively soft Brexit at the time of the referendum to the hardest of Brexits now, under the influence of the hard right European Reform Group of Tory MPs and their backers, much has changed.
Corbyn noted in his speech:
Johnson stood in front of a bus and promised £350 million a week for the NHS. Now we find out that £500 million a week could be taken out of the NHS and handed to big drug companies under his plans for a sellout trade deal with Trump.
He also noted:
If you’re living in Harlow you may well have voted to leave. You’ve got bills to pay, rising debts, work’s insecure and your wages barely stretch. You’re up against it.
If you’re living in York, it’s more likely you voted remain. You’ve got bills to pay, rising debts, work’s insecure and your wages barely stretch. You’re up against it.
But you’re not against each other. Labour’s plan will get Brexit sorted so a Labour government can get on with delivering the real change Britain needs.
Labour’s position is straightforward. We will negotiate a new withdrawal agreement which protects workers rights and includes a customs union. That will then be put to a further referendum which will include an option for remain. Whatever people vote for will be implemented. Brexit will be dealt with within the first 6 months of a Labour Government, allowing that government to get on with delivering its policies which will benefit the 99%.
He summed it up:
So we can get on with rebuilding our NHS and making prescriptions free. Get on with solving the housing crisis by building a million new homes and controlling rents.
Get on with bringing mail, rail, water and the energy grid into public ownership, and ending the great corporate rip-off of consumers.
Get on with creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs in every community through a Green Industrial Revolution. Get on with giving Britain a pay rise.
Read the full text of Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit speech