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Jeremy Corbyn in Walsall: Leave voters can trust Labour to deliver on Brexit

By Pete Madeley | Walsall | Brexit | Published:

Jeremy Corbyn has insisted his party has not abandoned Leave voters, as he called on them to trust Labour to thrash out a "credible" Brexit deal with the EU.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn chats with students during a visit to Walsall College

Making the case for Brexit supporters to back his party, the Labour leader said they would get a chance to vote for a deal he negotiates with the EU once he becomes Prime Minister.

It comes as Boris Johnson faces renewed pressure to recall Parliament after he was forced to release Operation Yellowhammer assessments that reveal a no-deal Brexit could trigger medical shortages, food price rises and major cross-channel trade delays.

Meanwhile Labour divisions over the issue deepened as deputy leader Tom Watson said the party should push for a fresh public vote on Brexit and campaign for Remain before going for a general election.

Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus
Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus

Mr Corbyn, who said he opposed Mr Watson's position, was the architect of the latest delay to Brexit, winning a Commons vote forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50.

During a visit to Walsall College's Wisemore Campus, where he chatted with students as part of his campaign to extend the voting age, Mr Corbyn refused to say which side he would campaign for in another referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus

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But he made a direct appeal to Leave supporters in the region to get behind his party, insisting that only Labour could block a no-deal departure from the bloc.

'You didn't vote to lose your job'

Asked by the Express & Star if his party had abandoned the tens of thousands of Labour voters in the West Midlands who support Brexit, he said: "I would say this to them: I understand that you voted Leave, I understand why you voted Leave, and I think you would agree with me that you didn't vote to lose your job, or to see the end of the protective regulations that we have in the workplace and with consumer goods, and of our environment, and that you wouldn't want a no-deal exit.

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Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus
Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus

"Under Labour, you will not have a no-deal exit. We will get a credible offer from the European Union, of that I am convinced, and that will be put to a public vote between that and Remain, so you will have the final say on what happens.

"Labour will not allow us to crash out on a no-deal exit with Donald Trump and American healthcare companies lining up to takeover our health service in the corner."

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Labour has twice opposed a snap general election, with Mr Corbyn insisting that he will not agree to a poll before an extension to the October 31 Brexit deadline has been guaranteed.

Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus

Asked to explain his position, he said: "The point is that the people themselves will be able to make that decision themselves, but there will be no no-deal exit from the EU, with all the problems that will cause for the manufacturing industry, for health service supplies and of course for the general movement of people."

'I want a future for our young people'

Mr Corbyn said a no-deal Brexit would be "very damaging" to job prospects in the West Midlands, describing the region as "the heart of the manufacturing industry in Britain".

"A no-deal Brexit will mean massive queues at Dover, massive queues at the Channel tunnel," he said.

Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus
Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus

"Any sensible government would be making sure we had an agreement with the EU to prevent ourselves from running into the chaos of October 31.

"I want a future for our young people. I want a future with skilled work in engineering, skilled work in our green industrial revolution.

"The West Midlands is absolutely at the heart of the manufacturing capabilities of this country."

Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus
Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus

Mr Corbyn was joined on his visit to the college by Labour's parliamentary candidate for Walsall North, Gill Ogilvie, who backed Leave in the EU referendum.

She said: "We cannot leave the EU over a cliff edge. I want to make sure that the Leave vote is honoured, but we need to make sure that a deal is in place.

"If there is a referendum, I will be campaigning for a credible deal."

Jeremy Corbyn at Walsall College's Wisemore Campus

Eddie Hughes, the Conservative MP for Walsall North, accused the Labour leadership of engaging in a "pincer movement" in a bid to stop Brexit.

"This seems to be a collaborative effort between Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson," he said.

"On one hand the Labour leader is delaying Brexit and doing all he can to weaken the Government's negotiating position with the EU, while his deputy is calling for a second referendum.

"Between the two of them they are letting down all the Labour Leave voters in the West Midlands."

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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