Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Jeremy Corbyn: I'm not calling for second European Union referendum

Jeremy Corbyn: I'm not calling for second European Union referendum

Jeremy Corbyn rebuffed a call from Nicola Sturgeon for Labour to back the UK's continued membership of the European single market, saying Brexit meant the United Kingdom had to quit the EU trading bloc.

Asked if it was a rational position for Labour not to back a second referendum or the campaign to stay in the single market even though the majority of the party's members want both of those things, Corbyn said: "It is rational to accept the result of the referendum".

"The Single Market is dependent of membership of the European Union".

"Labour just can't be trusted to deliver on leaving the European Union".

Mr Corbyn said that he was not calling for a second referendum.

In an interview with The Observer today, the former Ukip leader said he was anxious Brexiteers could "lose the historic victory" they won in 2016 as "The Remain side are making all the running". "What we've called for is a meaningful vote in Parliament and that is the one area that I think Parliament has asserted itself in the vote before Christmas".

Alastair Campbell believes there will be a "fresh referendum" and/or a general election but said that he now believed "Brexit will happen and it will be a disaster".

An amendment to the European withdrawal bill tabled last month by Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie, which he said would ensure the government made legal provision to remain in the customs union, won the backing of more than 60 Labour MPs, against the advice of whips.

"There is no reason why the United Kingdom, if we leave, should not have that kind of relationship".

While the result of the referendum means the United Kingdom must leave, she added that "we have to look after the economy which, in my view, means that we don't go very far".

Conservative deputy chairman James Cleverly said the two Labour politicians had "failed to rule out a second referendum".

"Every step of the way Labour are trying to frustrate the Brexit process rather than make a success of it".

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer yesterday tried to play down divisions in Labour on remaining in the single market after European Union withdrawal.

Mr Corbyn is facing calls from within Labour - as well as other opposition parties - to commit to keeping Labour in the EU single market and customs union after Brexit.

Mr Corbyn said the United Kingdom would "obviously" have to be in "a customs union" with the EU after Brexit, but suggested the existing arrangements needed improvements. Do we want a trading relationship that is tariff free? Yes.

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