Wednesday 21 August 2019

Corbyn rejects referendum re-run and no-deal on visit to 'old friends' in Dublin

  

Meeting: British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is greeted by Patricia King, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions yesterday. Photo: Sam Boal
Meeting: British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is greeted by Patricia King, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions yesterday. Photo: Sam Boal

Anne-Marie Walsh

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said a second Brexit referendum should not be a re-run of 2016 but a vote on a new withdrawal deal.

Speaking in Dublin, he said he would support a public vote on a negotiated deal with the EU "or alternatives to that".

Mr Corbyn is under pressure from some of his party members to back a second referendum after Labour's vote slumped in the European elections.

He said he was in town to meet "old friends" at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions HQ on Parnell Square and discuss workers' rights in Europe and Britain.

He plans to meet the Taoiseach today to discuss a customs union with the EU, and the "dynamic protection" of rights obtained through EU membership, he added.

"The referendum would be on a negotiated deal or alternatives to that," he said when asked about the possibility of a second referendum.

"It's not a re-run of 2016. It would be on the basis of whatever we have succeeded in negotiating.

"The British government is imploding at the present time and we are very keen to ensure that there is a process that prevents a no-deal exit from the European Union.

"Because I believe that would be incredibly damaging to industry all across Britain and obviously with that, of course, trade with Ireland as well."

He said the Tory party leadership candidates that nominated themselves so far appear to be of the view there should be a no-deal exit.

"I'm absolutely opposed to it," he said. "Indeed, I refused to meet the prime minister until no-deal was taken off the table and subsequently after we pushed it to several votes in the British parliament, it was taken off the table."

He said his party's position has always been that the Border between the North and the Republic should be an open trading border.

When asked how he would convince the EU to renegotiate, he said there would be a new commission and the important thing was to get agreement.

"I do not want Britain to become some sort of tax haven on the shores of Europe," he said.

When asked what he thought of Boris Johnson being ordered to appear in court over claims he lied to the British public during the Brexit campaign, he said he was not sure what he was facing trial about.

"Honestly, I try not to think about Boris Johnson too much," he said.

The Tory frontrunner has been accused of misconduct in public office over claims he lied when he said the UK gave the EU £350m (€396m) a week.

Irish Independent

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