POLITICS

Britain Will Remain In EU As Tories Are Botching Brexit Talks, Says Former Corbyn Advisor Matt Zarb-Cousin

The next General Election could be in 2019, says Zarb-Cousin.

15/10/2017 12:29 BST | Updated 16/10/2017 12:11 BST
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Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Britain will remain in the EU and there will be an election in 2019, ex-Jeremy Corbyn advisor Matt Zarb-Cousin has said. 

Speaking on the ITV Peston On Sunday Show, he said Theresa May will be forced to resign in 2019 because Brexit negotiations will fail and, as a result, the UK will stay part of the bloc. 

He added the Tory leadership contest triggered by the move would be between a Remainer and an MP pushing for a no-deal break from the EU and an election was likely to take place. 

He said: “Because of the way negotiations have been handled, I don’t think we’re going to get a deal so I think we’re going to end up staying in the European Union, therefore I think Theresa May will resign in 2019 then there will be a leadership contest between someone who wants no deal and someone who wants to stay in the European Union, and we could have an election that year.” 

It came after out polls suggested public opinion was swinging away from Brexit and toward Remain. A YouGov poll on Friday said 47% thought it was wrong for the UK to vote Leave while 42% believed it was the right decision.

Zarb-Cousin said he thought the Labour Party should “respect the result” of the referendum but keep “all options” on the table.  

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell hinted Labour and Tory MPs were preparing to team up and vote down moves for the UK to leave the EU without a deal should Theresa May return empty handed.

EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier also said this week that there had been a “disturbing”lack of progress on Brexit talks, with no agreement on the so-called divorce bill and both sides therefore unable to open negotiations on trade.  

Some Tory MPs have since been quoted in newspapers rating the chances of a no-deal outcome at “50-50”. 

Corbyn has previously said that the Labour Party is open to a policy of remaining in the single market on a permanent basis. Its current policy is to stay in the single market during a transition period and to remain in a customs union with the EU.  

When asked by Peston whether Jeremy Corbyn would remain leader of the Labour Party should the next election be as far away as 2022, Zarb Cousin said: “I would have thought so, yeah.” 

He added the Tory policy programme was veering left, adding: “Everything seems to be Corbyn-lite, so why not go full Corbyn?”