Jeremy Corbyn will not demand a second referendum and will agree to end freedom of movement from the EU in Brexit talks with the Prime Minister, his official spokesman revealed today.
The Labour leader is expected to ask for a customs union with the EU as his price to support the PM’s deal is a customs union.
Mr Corbyn is under huge pressure to demand second referendum to support Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement after she begged him for help to get it through the Commons.
But ahead of their first meeting today the party said he will not demand a new public vote on leaving the EU.
His official spokesman said Mr Corbyn only backs a referendum ‘to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a No Deal outcome’ – which will be out of the picture if he agrees to a cross-party Brexit deal.
And confirming that he will not demand a major change to Mrs May’s immigration police the spokesman added: ‘Freedom of movement ends when we leave the EU and we will replace it with fair management of migration’.
Jeremy Corbyn is under huge pressure to demand second referendum to support Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement – but his spokesman as ruled it out unless it is to stop No Deal
It came as his Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, who is attending the May/Corbyn summit, also ruled out a second referendum,.
She said: ‘If we get exactly what we want – a good strong deal, then I would struggle to find a reason to put that to a public vote.’
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will enter Brexit negotiations with the Prime Minister with an open mind but appeared to rule out a People’s Vote.
The admission risks a furious backlash from his own hardcore Remain MPs who want a People’s Vote.
Pro-European Owen Smith said today he would only back a Tory/Labour deal if it secured a second referendum, and then would used it to campaign for a vote to remain in the EU, calling his plan ‘common sense’.
Jeremy Corbyn is expected to meet Theresa May this afternoon and setting the scene Ms Long-Bailey said: ‘We’re not setting any red lines for these discussion with the Prime Minister.
‘Certainly a customs union is part of our sensible plan and indeed it’s interesting to note that one of the indicative votes this week was on a customs union and that was one that lost by the fewest votes so we hope the Prime Minister will be looking at that very, very closely.’
She added Labour’s support for another referendum or People’s Vote in the latest indicative votes was ‘just to move matters ahead’.
She added: ‘Certainly the People’s Vote didn’t satisfy all elements of our conference policy but we wanted to have that on the table so members could have the opportunity to look at that if they wanted to.’
Jeremy Corbyn last night said he would press for Britain to remain in a customs union and protect workers’ rights as he agreed to talks with Theresa May to break the Brexit deadlock.
The Labour leader said he was ‘very happy’ to sit down with the Prime Minister in an attempt to agree a plan that allows the country to leave the EU with a deal.
Mr Corbyn stressed that he would take a list of demands including a move towards a softer Brexit and increased worker protections. But he appeared to have dropped his call for a second referendum – not mentioning it in his list.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured reading the Political Declaration) has said he is ‘very happy’ to meet Theresa May after she offered cross-party talks with him to break the Westminster deadlock
Mr Corbyn said he would not set any ‘limits’ ahead of the meeting, but added: ‘Labour has put forward our proposals to ensure there is a customs union with the EU, access to vital markets and protections of our standards of consumer, environmental and workers’ rights – and we’ll ensure that those are on the table.
‘We’re also very clear that there has to be an absolute guarantee that the Good Friday Agreement is maintained for peace in Northern Ireland.’
He added: ‘So far, the Prime Minister hasn’t shown much sign of compromise, but I’m pleased that today she’s indicated she’ll accept the view of Parliament and is prepared to reach out and have that discussion.’
Mr Corbyn said he recognised that Mrs May had ‘made a move’ and he had a ‘responsibility to represent the people who supported Labour in the last election and the people who didn’t support Labour but nevertheless want certainty and security for their own future’.
He insisted: ‘That’s the basis on which we will meet her and have those discussions.’
But he also warned that Labour would ‘hold in reserve’ the option of tabling a confidence motion in the Government if it ‘proves it is incapable of commanding a majority in the House of Commons’.
Mr Corbyn’s agreement to meet Mrs May comes less than a fortnight after he was accused of ‘extraordinary, juvenile’ behaviour by walking out of a crucial Brexit meeting with her because Labour defector Chuka Umunna was also in the room.
As a member of the breakaway Independent Group, Mr Umunna had been invited by the PM along with other opposition representatives. Mr Corbyn’s refusal to be in the same room was contrasted with his previous willingness to sit with members of the terror group Hamas – when he went as far as calling them his ‘friends’. He explained his reluctance to join the former Labour MP at the meeting by complaining that Mr Umunna ‘wasn’t a proper party leader’. But critics slammed such behaviour at a time when Britain’s future was hanging in the balance.
A Labour MP has accused Theresa May (pictured) of trying to ‘dip Jeremy Corbyn’s hands into the mess of Brexit’
Mr Corbyn last night faced pressure from some of his MPs to maintain his demand for a second referendum.
Labour MP Alex Sobel, who is part of the Best for Britain campaign, warned that the party should not help deliver the PM’s deal.
He said: ‘This would be a leap in the dark when we know the crucial negotiations on our future relationship would end up in the hands of a future Tory leader who won’t be bound by her promises.
‘We cannot be bounced into any sort of botched Brexit in fear of investing a bit more time in really getting this right. A bad Brexit could destroy British industries and our hard-won workers’ rights.’