Britain

Corbyn backs Starmer over not ruling out Remain

Jeremy Corbyn has backed Sir Keir Starmer's conference floor statement that "nobody is ruling out Remain as an option" in an interview with Sky News at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

Asked if he backed those words, Mr Corbyn said: "Look, those are the words of the motion, those are the words of a motion that is supported by the national executive and the shadow cabinet and that is what's being voted on in conference. The vote… I think it's going to be carried by a very large majority.

"Keir put that in because it's what is there in the motion and so we will challenge this government and if they don't meet our six tests we will vote against it and then we will take it from there."

Mr Corbyn also did not confirm that Brexit would definitely happen next March, nor that it would happen at all.

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Video: Sir Keir Starmer on the current state of Brexit negotiations

Asked if Brexit was going to happen in March 2019, he said: "At the moment it looks like it and we will challenge this government on the six tests.

"If they don't meet them then we will vote against it.

"The government would then have to go back to the European Union and continue negotiations, or they might choose to resign and have a general election so that the people of this country can decide who they want to conduct these negotiations."

Asked if Brexit was going to happen at all, Mr Corbyn said: "Well look, we will challenge the government's terms for Brexit if they don't meet out six tests.

"We are not in the majority in parliament.

"If we were, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in at that moment."

The Brexit issue has dominated the conference, amid calls for Mr Corbyn to come out in favour of a second referendum.

On the first day of the gathering the Labour leader said he would be "bound" by what members decided.

After marathon talks, party chiefs agreed on a motion which puts a second referendum behind a call for a general election – a motion that was overwhelmingly backed by delegates on Tuesday.

On the issue that has dogged the party over the summer – antisemtism – Mr Corbyn was uncompromising, repeating that he would "die fighting antisemitism", but only expressing regret for "the stuff that's been thrown at me".

Sir Keir Starmer delivers a well-received speech at the Labour conference 1:41
Video: Sir Keir Starmer received a standing ovation when he said 'nobody was ruling out remain as an option' in a public vote.

Asked if he accepted personal responsibility or regret for the summer crisis, he said: "I have spent my life fighting racism, I will die fighting racism.

"Antisemitism is totally appalling, wrong, and a scourge on our society, as is, as a matter of fact, any other form of racism.

"I've had a lot of things thrown at me over the summer, what I regret is the stuff that's been thrown at me and the ill-informed nature of it."

Mr Corbyn also backed Sky News' Make Debates Happen campaign, saying: "We've always wanted debates between leaders.

"Not just the party leaders, but also with the spokespersons for different departments so that there is an open and public debate.

More from Brexit

"In the last general election, I attended the Cambridge debate, I was there at those debates.

"The prime minister chose not to turn up, I think that was a terrible shame, and I do think for two debates in fact, that the prime minister should have been there."

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