Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May outlining the Labour party’s five Brexit demands, which he claims will bring the country together.
In a letter to May, Naija News understands Corbyn demanded the prime minister adjust her red lines and abandon her attempt to secure legally binding changes to the Northern Ireland backstop, which is despised by Brexiteers in her party, in order to secure a deal.
“Without changes to your negotiating red lines, we do not believe that simply seeking modifications to the existing backstop terms is a credible or sufficient response either to the scale of your defeat last month in parliament,” wrote Corbyn, “or the need for a deal with the EU that can bring the country together and protect jobs.”
Recall May’s Brexit deal was defeated by a historic margin of 230 votes last month when she asked MPs to ratify it.
Last week, the House of Commons voted narrowly to send her back to Brussels in order to reopen negotiations on the backstop. But in recent days, the government has been sounding out Labour MPs for their support.
While Corbyn appears content to leave the legally binding withdrawal agreement untouched, the changes he is demanding to the political declaration would amount to a significant shift in the prime minister’s position.
They would preclude an independent trade policy for the U.K. post-Brexit and mean that London would still be subject to many rules set in Brussels without a say in drafting them.
They would also likely mean the U.K. having to accept freedom of movement, something May has vowed to end.
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Corbyn’s five conditions are:
— A permanent and comprehensive U.K.-wide customs union with the EU. He argues that would “deliver the frictionless trade that our businesses, workers and consumers need, and is the only viable way to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland.”
— Close alignment with the EU single market with “shared institutions and obligations.”
We believe these negotiating objectives need to be enshrined in law before the U.K. leaves the EU to provide certainty for businesses and a clear framework for our future relationship,” Corbyn added.
There is no mention of one of Labour’s previous “six tests” — to ensure the “exact same benefits” of EU membership — which the party leadership had given as its price for supporting a Brexit deal.
Officials and diplomats in Brussels have said consistently that no departing member can benefit from the same terms of membership.
Theresa May will travel to Brussels Thursday for talks with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council President Donald Tusk.