Corbyn: Labour will vote against EU withdrawal bill this week
Jeremy Corbyn Corbyn: Labour will vote against EU withdrawal bill this week
Labour leader also says he will not heed calls from within party for UK to stay in single market
Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will vote against the EU withdrawal bill at its third reading because of concern about a lack of protection for parliamentary democracy and human rights.
The Labour leader confirmed for the first time that his party planned to vote against the bill, but also said he would not heed calls from within his party and from outside to commit the UK to staying inside the European single market.
Over the weekend, human rights organisations including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Liberty, the Fawcett Society and the National Aids Trust warned that the bill, which returns to the House of Commons on Tuesday, âwill not protect peopleâs rights in the UK as the government promisedâ.
Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has said Labour would propose an amendment to the withdrawal bill to retain the EU charter of fundamental rights in British law.
Corbyn said he would direct his MPs to vote against the bill when it returned to the House of Commons. âIf our tests are not met by the government, we will vote against the bill,â he told ITVâs Peston on Sunday.
âWeâve got a vote coming up this week on the EU withdrawal bill. Weâve set down o ur lines on that which are about democratic accountability, protection of workers and environment and consumer rights, human rights across Europe.â
It is understood Conservative rebels who defeated the government in December over an amendment designed to protect a parliamentary vote on the final deal are unlikely to vote in significant numbers against the final bill and are minded to wait to see any changes proposed by the House of Lords.
On Sunday, Corbyn was also asked if his party would definitely rule out calling a second referendum on the terms of the EU withdrawal. âWe are not supporting or calling for a second referendum,â he said. âWhat we have called for is a meaningful vote in parliament and that is the one area that I think parliament has asserted itself just in the vote before Christmas.â
Asked if he was saying Labour would never support a second referendum, the Labour leader would only say his party was not calling for one.
The shad ow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, said a second referendum was not the partyâs policy, but public opinion would be a significant factor. âIf 90% of the population was now saying we must stay in the European Union and we must not leave â¦ then that would be a challenge that would be there for all of us who are democrats,â she told the BBCâs Andrew Marr show.
âBut at the moment and as things currently stand we proceed in good faith, we do as we are instructed and we are leaving the EU.â
Pro-EU Labour MPs have ratcheted up efforts over the past week for Corbyn to harden Labourâs Brexit policy to back continued membership of the single market and the customs union.
On Saturday, the MP Wes Streeting told the Fabian Societyâs annual conference Corbyn was the single biggest barrier to a policy that would âcommand a majority in the Commons and a majority in the countryâ.
The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens are set to back a separate amendment this week that would prevent ministers being able to take the UK out of the single market and customs union without the approval of parliament, but a Labour spokesman said over the weekend the party did not intend to support it.
On Sunday, Corbyn said he still had significant doubts about a policy to keep the UK in the single market and customs union.
âDo we have a trading relationship with Europe which is tariff free, which is based on access to that market, and access of Europe to our market? Yes. Do we push for that in the negotiations? Yes. Is that what we have said to the European Union in opposition? Yes. You have to make a special relationship with the European Union,â he said.
âThere are also aspects of the single market one wants to think about such as the restrictions on state aid to industry, which is something that I would wish to challenge.âTopics
- Jeremy Corbyn
- European Union
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