Corbyn outlines potential impact of no-deal Brexit on communities across Britain
Jeremy Corbyn has offered Leave voters a vision to transform Britain as he pledged to block a no-deal Brexit.
The Labour leader, holding a shadow cabinet meeting in Salford to plan the next steps to stop what he called Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “dictatorial approach” to Parliament, said Leave-voting areas had suffered from austerity and decades of lack of investment.
He went through regions of England detailing the damage he claimed a no-deal EU exit could do.
Mr Corbyn said: “So to people who voted leave, they may have many, many reasons for voting leave but nobody wanted to lose their rights, lose their job or see a sweetheart trade deal set up with the United States.”
He said in the West Midlands, 10,000 people are employed in car production in Solihull, 9,000 in Coventry and 8,000 in Birmingham, which could all be at risk under no deal, which could “tear the heart out of the West Midlands”.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, where 10,000 people are employed in the steel industry, no deal would mean “no steel”, he said.
And in the East of England, the region with the largest agricultural sector employing more than 30,000 people, no deal would be “catastrophic” according to the National Farmers Union, Mr Corbyn said.
He added: “The Tories always put first those who lend and speculate over those who make things.
“That’s why it’s the billionaire hedge funders who bankroll Boris Johnson and his party who call the shots.”
The Labour leader said the UK has the worst regional inequality in Europe, citing the £1,023 per head spent on transport in London compared with just £422 in the North.
He said travelling the 126 miles from Liverpool to Hull on the train takes nearly three hours, but the 286-mile journey from London to Paris is 40 minutes less.
His party, he claimed, had a “serious and practical plan” to “power up the North” with an investment “blitz” of billions in public money.
Labour’s plan for a seven-fold increase in offshore wind energy will bring 12,000 jobs to Norfolk, 11,000 to the Humber, and 10,000 to the North East, he said.
And the retrofitting of houses will create more than 8,000 jobs in the West Midlands, 4,000 in South Yorkshire and 1,700 in Derbyshire and save on energy bills, Mr Corbyn claimed.
The Labour leader was asked how he would convince Leave voters in the North and elsewhere not to abandon his party.
He said: “It is our mission to have serious trade relationships with Europe in the future, in or out. It’s also our mission to invest in every community all across this country so we can bring the social justice that people crave.
“And our position all along has been one of understanding the decision made in 2016 but also doing our very best as a party, as a movement, to protect jobs and give us the opportunity to invest in areas, many of whom voted leave, who had seen no investment for 20 or 30 years and seen the loss of good quality, secure jobs in manufacturing replaced by fly-by-night economics, zero hours contracts and insecurity at the same time as the local authority expenditure has been slashed and all the social infrastructure that makes up our communities destroyed in the process, leaving that sense of hopelessness.
“And we will take that message which actually unites people, and we will give people a final say on the relationship with Europe.
“Either no deal or remain or whatever other thing may come out of Parliament over the next few weeks.”