As tensions over Brexit reach a fever pitch, and potentially risk toppling Theresa May's cabinet, UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to confirm today that the Labour Party will oppose PM May’s plans to take Britain out of the
customs union with the EU. In response to the news that the Labour leader will announce that his party wants a EU customs union, the University of Kent’s Dr Adrian Pabst, an expert on the Labour Party says this is a "significant political gamble."
"The aim is to create clear blue water with the Tories who favour leaving not just the single market but also the customs union. Far from being a technical detail, Labour’s strategy is to provide clarity at a time when the governing Conservative Party is struggling to formulate a common position."
"Corbyn seems to calculate that Tory Remainers will vote with Labour to defeat the government and possibly topple Theresa May as Prime Minister. The hope is that this will be trigger another early election that Labour thinks it’ll win."
"However, Labour’s new position is unclear in several respects. First, on the question of national sovereignty, how will Labour answer the charge of claiming to respect the referendum result while in reality submitting to EU rules without having a say and accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice?"
"Second, on party politics, how will Labour persuade Tory rebels to go against the Conservative Party manifesto and vote down their government, which would plunge the Tories into the greatest crisis since the split over the Corn Laws in the mid-nineteenth century?"
"Third, on Labour’s electoral base, how will Corbyn address widespread concerns among its working-class voters about the volume and pace of immigration? He talks mostly about ‘jobs, rights and living standards’ and treats immigration as a purely economic issue rather than a cultural issue that raises questions of identity."
"Traditional Labour voters in the North and across the Midlands may switch to the Conservatives, which would put at risk Labour’s chances of winning the next election. Therefore Corbyn’s announcement may yield short-term political gains at the expense of long-term electoral losses."
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Meanwhile, in an advance take on Corbyn's speech, Boris Johnson tweets that "Corbyn’s Brexit plan would leave U.K. a colony of the EU - unable to take back control of our borders or our trade policy. White flag from labour before talks even begin."
Corbyn’s Brexit plan would leave U.K. a colony of the EU - unable to take back control of our borders or our trade policy. White flag from labour before talks even begin.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 26, 2018
"Crumbling Corbyn betrays Leave voters - and all because he wants to win a commons vote. Cynical and deluded" he said in an earlier tweet.
Crumbling Corbyn betrays Leave voters - and all because he wants to win a commons vote. Cynical and deluded.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 26, 2018
Meanwhile, in other "fluid" Brexit news, the Telegraph reported that the UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility is set for an embarrassing U-turn as it prepares to dramatically hike forecasts for UK growth just months after they were suddenly downgraded.
Separately, the Sunday Times reported that three cabinet ministers warned PM May during private talks on Brexit at her Chequers retreat last week that her government could collapse this year. According to reports, senior ministers said there are discussions about whether the prime minister should turn the vote into a confidence issue, threatening a general election if Tory MPs vote with the opposition.