Jeremy Corbyn has cautioned MPs against backing any Brexit deal Boris Johnson secures with Brussels – even if it is put to a referendum.
In a wide-ranging interview with Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Corbyn:
- Said there was a “strong possibility” that there will be a general election before Christmas;
- Refused to say if he would stand down as leader if Labour lost the next general election;
- Ruled out going into coalition with smaller parties in order to form a government;
- Said a second Scottish independence referendum was “not a priority” – but refused to explicitly rule out allowing Holyrood to hold one;
- Said he wants to achieve net zero emissions by 2030 “if we can”;
- Did not commit Labour to abolishing private schools, despite a motion to this effect being passed at the party’s annual conference last month
The Labour leader was speaking to Sky News as negotiators from the UK and EU hold talks in a bid to thrash out a deal ahead of a crucial summit this week.
Sky News understands Mr Johnson has proposed a compromise in an attempt to break the deadlock.
Details of this offer have emerged in recent days – and asked whether Labour could support such a deal, Mr Corbyn said: “I think the problem areas are of regulation and deregulation which come from whatever trade arrangement there is with Europe and the wider world but also perhaps very seriously is the Irish border issue.
“And if it creates a border down the Irish Sea rather than on the Irish border itself, I can see that bringing problems.”
Labour’s Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer said on Saturday that any deal the PM manages to agree should be put to a referendum.
But in a sign there are splits in the upper echelons of the party on this, Mr Corbyn was much more cautious on this prospect.
“I think many in parliament, not necessarily Labour MPs but others, might be more inclined to support it even if they don’t really agree with the deal,” he said.
“But I would caution them on this because my view would be that I would want a deal that resembles the five pillars we’ve put forward and that obviously would command support and obviously does have wide support within the Labour Party and the trade unions.”
The Labour leader said his party was “ready for an election at any time” and reiterated his stance that he should have the first chance to form a new government if Mr Johnson was forced out through a no-confidence vote.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who also appeared on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, said the PM’s revised Brexit deal sounds “ridiculous”.
She said the party wants any deal to be “put to the public so they can have the final say”, adding: “The Liberal Democrats will campaign strongly to remain.”
Ms Swinson continued: “And the public need to have the choice to decide if they want to have this ridiculous deal that Boris is churning up, or even Theresa May’s deal.”
She reiterated her opposition to Mr Corbyn as an interim PM in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, saying there were no circumstances in which she would back the Labour leader.
Ms Swinson also claimed it was “entirely possible” for her party to win a majority at the next election.
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