Corbyn: Labour’s jobs-first Brexit would guarantee unimpeded access to the single market
However, Jeremy Corbyn didn’t shed light on how Labour would do this.
Labour’s official position on Brexit is for a “jobs-first Brexit” and as its Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said, this means not leaving any options off the negotiating table. At his big conference speech today, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t provide more detail on how this could be achieved. But that was expected.
Jeremy Corbyn had some good lines in his criticism over the Tory government’s handling of Brexit. He said: “If there were no other reason for the Tories to go, their self-interested Brexit bungling would be reason enough.” He also noted some in the government who had “a reckless Tory Brexit agenda that would plunge Britain into a Trump-style race-to-the-bottom in rights and corporate taxes.” To be fair, both Theresa May and the chancellor Philip Hammond have suggested Britain could change its economic model to become a corporate tax haven.
But what of Labour’s Brexit? On EU citizens in the UK, Corbyn said if Labour was in government, it would protect their rights now. He also reiterated that Labour wanted a status quo transition deal which saw the country stay in the single market and customs union.
Beyond that, the Labour leader said its task is “to unite everyone in our country around a progressive version of what Britain could be”. In addition to saying a Labour Brexit would be one for the many, he said it would be “one that guarantees unimpeded access to the single market and establishes a new co-operative relationship with the EU.” What he leaves out here, however, is what trade-offs the party is willing to make to achieve this.
… a Labour Brexit that puts jobs first is a Brexit for the many, one that guarantees unimpeded access to the single market and establishes a new co-operative relationship with the EU.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party
Corbyn said Labour would use “powers returned from Brussels to support a new industrial strategy to upgrade our economy in every region and nation.” It’s not clear, however, why this cannot be done whilst an EU member.
He also decried the use of immigration to “fan the flames of fear”. Corbyn said: “We will never follow the Tories into the gutter of blaming migrants for the ills of society.” And he added: “It isn’t migrants who drive down wages and conditions but the worst bosses in collusion with a Conservative government that never misses a chance to attack trade unions and weaken people’s rights at work.” We would recommend Corbyn reads the piece in the New Statesman by Luke Cooper, co-author of Brexit and Immigration: Prioritising the Rights of All Workers.
You can see Jeremy Corbyn’s full speech at labour.org.uk.