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Jeremy Corbyn: Labour has more “common ground” with business on Brexit

The labour leader also suggests EU membership hasn’t harmed Germany or France’s nationalisation efforts.


Following a speech by the prime minister to business leaders at the Confederation of Business Industry’s annual conference, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his own. It it, he set out Labour’s position on Brexit and how his party now had more “common ground” with business than the government. Corbyn reiterated he wanted a Brexit that puts jobs and living standards first. He then criticised the government for wanting to delay a transition deal until a final deal is agreed. And that as with business, Labour wanted a transition deal agreed immediately.

Because let me be clear: to delay a transition deal until a final deal is agreed as the Prime Minister says she wants to do, is simply not good enough.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader

As we’ve written previously, both the prime minister and Brexit secretary David Davis have made transition arrangements dependent on a new trade deal being agreed by the UK’s planned withdrawal date. Although, in her speech this morning, Theresa May said a final deal would “take time to finalise.” We’re now a little confused as to what the government’s view is.

Theresa May: New relationship with EU will take time to finalise

In more “common ground” with business, Corbyn said Labour believed that “no deal” was a “potentially nightmare scenario.” He further added that, like business, Labour believed the rights of EU citizens living in the UK should immediately be unilaterally guaranteed by the government.

And on a new trade deal with the EU, he said: “it is crucial that the final deal maintains the benefits of the common market and the customs union.”

Like you, we have always said that the economy, jobs and living standards should come first in the negotiations, which means it is crucial that the final deal maintains the benefits of the common market and the customs union.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader

Really, the Labour leader hasn’t offered anything new to his party’s position on Brexit. But he has made a clearer distinction between Labour’s and the government’s Brexit policy – and more importantly, that Labour’s view has more “common ground” with business. This is mainly that Labour wants a transition deal agreed as soon as possible and for it to be implemented even if a new trade deal isn’t agreed by the UK’s expected withdrawal. Labour also hasn’t ruled out single market membership or staying in a customs union with the EU. However, what he hasn’t been completely clear on is, if push came to shove, whether they would prioritise single market membership over ending free movement.

Interestingly, Corbyn did also appear to put paid to the idea that Labour’s nationalisation plans would be impossible whilst the UK is in the EU. UK-EU correspondent for MLex Matt Holehouse points this out in a tweet.

In his speech, the Labour leader said: “Some of the world’s biggest economies – Germany, France, even the United States – are deciding that key sectors such as energy and water are better off in public ownership.” From today’s comments, it seems Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t think EU membership has inhibited Germany or France’s ability to nationalise certain sectors. But as the Guardian reports, his views on this hasn’t always been so clear.

Here’s a couple of other tweets from the CBI conference:


Image: © Rwendland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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