UK

Jeremy Corbyn Says Labour Would Vote Against Brexit Deal If It Failed To Meet Its Six Tests

'We would not support it. We would vote against it'.

29/03/2017 21:00 BST

Labour will veto any Brexit deal that fails to meet the six tests the party has set out, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The party has set out six tests of any deal, including preserving the “exact same benefits” of a customs union and Single Market membership and protecting national security.

The Government resisted giving parliament a detailed vote on any deal but promised it a vote to approve or reject what is negotiated. Rejecting it would mean Britain would leave with no deal and have to rely on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer set out the six tests in a speech on Monday.

After Theresa May’s Article 50 letter was received by the EU and the two-year process of Britain leaving began on Wednesday, Corbyn said the party would veto the deal during a grilling from the BBC’s Andrew Neil.

BBC
Jeremy Corbyn during the interview

Corbyn told Neil: “Obviously if those (the six tests) are not met, we would not support it. We would vote against it.”

Neil asked if the party would do this “even if we would ‘crash out’, in your words, on WTO rules”.

Corbyn denied this, saying Labour would pressure both for “regular reporting” to parliament on the progress of negotiations and an extension of the negotiations if no deal were agreed, which the 27 EU states would all need to agree to.

“If there’s not likely to be an agreement, surely the obvious thing to do ... is to continue those negotiations by an extension, and within Article 50 there is provision for that. 

“If (the other states didn’t agree), then you’d have to argue very strongly with them.”

Labour’s six Brexit tests:

1. Does it ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU?

2. Does it deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union?

3. Does it ensure the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities?

4. Does it defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom?

5. Does it protect national security and our capacity to tackle cross-border crime?

6. Does it deliver for all regions and nations of the UK?

Asked if he would back a second referendum on the Brexit deal, Corbyn said: “At the moment, no, I wouldn’t.”.

BBC
Theresa May gave little away during her interview with Andrew Neil

Corbyn was interviewed by Neil just after the broadcaster’s probe of Theresa May was broadcast.

The prime minister avoided giving detailed or even direct answers to Neil’s questions.

He asked four times what she meant in January when she gave a speech pledging a “new economic model” for Britain if it left the EU without a deal and each time she gave no detail.

She also declined to answer questions about whether Britain would have to pay a fee of up to £50 billion to the EU on departure.

She also refused to answer whether Brexit would make immigration “significantly lower” but did reiterate her position that EU nationals’ rights to stay in Britain and Britons’ rights to stay in the EU would be an early focus in negotiations.

“I think we will be able to address this as one of the early things we talk about in the negotiations,” she said.