Labour's John McDonnell Says Vote 'Remain' To Avoid A Right-Wing 'Tory Brexit' On Peston On Sunday

Shadow Chancellor is 'eurosceptic' but 'Brexit' is 'leap in the dark'

12/06/2016 11:22 | Updated 13 June 2016

Labour's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has urged the party's supporters to vote to stay in the European Union as a "Tory Brexit" would be much worse.

The party has faced criticism that millions of people who vote for Labour do not know whether it supports Leave or Remain - chiefly since leader Jeremy Corbyn is less enthusiastic about the EU than many of his MPs.

With just ten days to go before the referendum and against fears Labour voters are drifting to 'Brexit', Corbyn's right-hand man appeared on ITV's flagship politics show, Peston on Sunday, to make his case for In.

He said the Labour argument had been "squeezed out" by the media's focus on the "punch-up" in the Tory party involving David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

John McDonnell: "If 'Tory Brexit' goes though, there will be a Conservative government in power."

In the spirit of Corbyn refusing to share a platform with David Cameron, McDonnell made clear he thought the Remain campaign was indulging in "Project Fear" as much as the Leave campaign.

In common with many on the left, he described himself as a "eurosceptic" - but thinks reform is best achieved inside the EU rather than outside it. Moreover, the MP said a vote for a "Tory Brexit" would lead to more cuts.

He said: 

"If 'Tory Brexit' goes though, there will be a Conservative government in power. Boris Johnson will have a huge influence on that government, he may well be Prime Minister in due course.

"Do you think our public services are not going to be at risk because of that? That there aren't going to be further cuts, that there's no austerity? That employment rights will be savaged?

"This is what he's been campaigning for all these years. Nigel Farage yapping at his heels on these polices as well."

McDonnell added that he would vote to Remain despite some misgivings stretching back to the 1975 referendum.

"I think most people come from my position. I didn't vote to go in to the common market. I'm sort of eurosceptic. I don't like the institutions of the EU, I want reform. I want change. I don't want a leap in the dark. I just want some security of how we're going forward."

McDonnell received support from singer Mick Hucknall - who earlier in the week had criticised Corbyn's cowardice on the referendum.

 And Labour MPs supported his line.

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