Corbyn to make the case for ‘Remain and Reform’ in Europe

The Labour leader delivers his first major pro-EU speech in London this morning


Jeremy Corbyn will deliver his first major speech on the EU referendum this morning, arguing that ‘the Labour party is overwhelmingly for staying in, because we believe the European Union has brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment, and offers the best chance of meeting the challenges we face in the 21st century.’

While arguing in favour of international co-operation and collective EU action, Corbyn will also defend his record of EU criticism and emphasise the need for reform:

“Over the years I have continued to be critical of many decisions taken by the EU  and I remain critical of its shortcomings, from its lack of democratic accountability to the institutional pressure to deregulate or privatise public services . . . Europe needs to change. But that change can only come from working with our allies in the EU.”

Apparently cautious of repeating Labour’s controversial alliance with the Tories in the Scottish referendum, Corbyn’s speech will attack the Tory government’s resistance to progressive EU reform.

On steel, he will point out that other governments in Europe, including Germany, Italy, France and Spain, have successfully protected their steel industries, indicating that the fundamental problem is not with the EU but with the current UK government.

“The European Commission proposed new tariffs on Chinese steel but it was the UK Government that blocked these co-ordinated efforts to stop Chinese steel dumping.Those proposals are still on the table. So today I ask David Cameron and George Osborne to to start sticking up for British steel and work with our willing European partners to secure its future.”

Pointing to the fact that Tory MEPs have consistently voted against attempts to control tax evasion, he believes ‘it is clear what the main Vote Leave vision is: for Britain to be the safe haven of choice for the ill-gotten gains of every dodgy oligarch, dictator, or rogue corporation.’

Corbyn has been extensively criticised in recent months for his failure to take a strong stance on the referendum. Although he argues today that there is ‘a strong socialist case for staying in’, his dogged insistence on the need for reform may be perceived as half-heartedness.

Also this morning, Labour MP Chuka Umunna will deliver a pro-European speech to the Business Centre Association, arguing that British businesses overwhelmingly support Remain and that the Leave campaign, by claiming otherwise, is ‘guilty of selling dodgy goods to the British public.’

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5 Responses to “Corbyn to make the case for ‘Remain and Reform’ in Europe”

  1. David Lindsay

    This was expected, of course. As is the withering media scorn towards the critics. They are being depicted as the Outer Left, as if that applied to Frank Field, Kate Hoey, Gisela Stuart, Roger Godsiff, Graham Stringer, Nigel Griffiths, Tom Harris, John Mills or Brendan Chilton.

    Ronnie Campbell had it right on The World at One, that reforming the EU in a socialistic direction was “Cloud Cuckoo Land” and that “no one would even listen to [Corbyn)”, while, when it came to workers’ rights, “we could just do that ourselves”. Well, we should. It is a different question whether, inside the EU, we could. How were workers’ rights in 1972? And how are they today?

    Behind today’s speech are the corporate-style mega-unions that have emerged over relatively recent years. Those need to be broken up as surely as do numerous other things, not least the EU. The resurgent Left is not there to provide cover for them, any more than it is there to provide cover for the Liberal Establishment’s media, or for the right-wing (if at all political) Labour machines in local government.

    The difference is that, while we should and do want Out of the EU, we should want In to the new Executive Board of the BBC, to the future ownership structure of the Channel Four Television Corporation, to the Governing Bodies of the academies, and to the Boards of Trustees of their wider networks. Alongside the Tories? So be it. We sit on councils, don’t we?

    The Labour and Labourish Establishment is expecting us to do its hard work for it, in order to protect its power bases from which it has always excluded us, and from which it fully intends to carry on excluding us. We need to go over that Establishment’s head. And we need to strike the first of many hammer blows against it, by securing the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

  2. Nick

    a good speech there are so many very impotent points about staying in the EU and at the end of the day the public’s common sense will prevail and vote to stay in of that you can be certain

    of course those with personal wealth may find that not to be the case but there are in the main are not the majority

    if you came out of the EU you would end with a Conservative dictatorship like all the rest of those countries in the world where the conservatives rule

  3. Jimmy Glesga

    We continue to pay useless idle 751 MEP’S a salary plus expenses if we stay in and the Commision elite. Get out now. Preferably yesterday. A fair trade deal is all that is required.

  4. Ted

    Assuming we vote to leave who negotiates the terms, while they are doing this not only with the EU but the Rest of the World who runs the country? When does the separation take place? Just for a moment assume the terms of the “Fair Trade Deal” are not acceptable for one side or other or perhaps one political party in the UK, will we then spend another twenty years re-negotiating the terms? I can virtually guarantee someone will object.

  5. Alexsandr

    So Corbyn was a eurosceptic until elected leader of Labour. I think an explanation for that major U-turn is necessary or he just looks opportunistic, or in someones pay.

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