Jeremy Corbyn aims for Brexit middle-ground in pitch for ‘the 99%’

Jeremy Corbyn 2

Jeremy Corbyn has declared Labour stands for “the 99%” on Brexit as he tried to position himself between the “extreme” Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

He insisted his plan to renegotiate a divorce deal with the European Union and hold a referendum on it within six months of winning the keys to Number 10 was “realistic”.

But his Brexit balancing act was attacked by Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, who said it and the Conservatives’ stance simply “merge into one”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also wrote a letter to the Labour leader last night demanding he “come clean” about his Brexit plan, suggesting he wanted to “go back to square one”.

Speaking one day before the election campaign officially kicks off, Mr Corbyn delivered a speech in Leave-voting Harlow, Essex, with a message he wanted to “get Brexit sorted” with “unity”.

“People sometimes accuse me of trying to talk to both sides at once in the Brexit debate; to people who voted leave and remain,” he said.

“You know what? They’re right…

“Labour stands not just for the 52 per cent or the 48 per cent, but for the 99%.

“It’s Labour that’s determined to bring a divided country together.

“You can’t do that if your whole political strategy is to turn one side of the Brexit debate against the other.

“The Tories are offering an extreme and damaging form of Brexit while the Liberal Democrats want to ignore the result of the 2016 referendum and revoke Article 50.

“The Brexit crisis needs to be resolved but it must be done democratically.”

Speaking to journalists afterwards, Mr Corbyn declined to say whether he was committing to solving the whole issue by June if he becomes prime minister in the 12 December general election.

“We wouldn’t be saying this if we didn’t think it was realistic or doable,” he claimed, joking shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer had a Eurostar “season ticket”.

Meanwhile, Ms Swinson said she had “absolutely, categorically” ruled out going into coalition with Labour under Mr Corbyn – not just over Brexit but for “many” other reasons, including his “dereliction of duty” over antisemitism.

Trying to place herself as the true voice of remain, she announced at the Lib Dems’ campaign launch in central London: “Red or blue, it’s all Brexit. It’s all bad for our country.”

 Mr Johnson fired up his own top team by gathering cabinet ministers in Downing Street to tell them the short-lived government should be “very proud of what we have done”.He accused Mr Corbyn of planning to “waste 2020 – which could be an absolutely fantastic year for the nation – with two more referendums, one on the EU… and one which risks the break up of the union of our UK”.