Corbyn rejects call by Tom Watson for Labour to fully back remain

MP John Mann

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he is "eager for an election" but wants to see legislation created to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October implemented first.

But the party leader hit back, saying an election should be the "priority" with a referendum taking place only once he is installed in No 10.

Corbyn outlined a classic left-wing Labour pitch at the Trade Union Congress (TUC), reiterating his plan to nationalise Britain's rail network and utility companies, give workers seats on company boards and protect tenants against exploitative landlords.

Asked for his opinion on West Bromwich East MP Mr Watson's call for a new Brexit poll before an election, he said: "It's Tom's view".

Corbyn has previously said that Labour is prioritising a general election and would make the commitment to a referendum with leave and remain options in its manifesto.

British newspaper The Guardian reports the rejection and put-down by the unnamed "senior Tory source", who said of the Brexit leader and Leave.EU's millionaire donor: "Neither Nigel Farage nor Arron Banks are fit and proper persons and they should never be allowed anywhere near government".

"Ever since 2016, I've sought to bring people together. If we did it, we could win, whereas if we don't, I fear we won't".

Jeremy Corbyn on a visit to Walsall college of further education on Wednesday.

Recent special elections have shown the pro-Brexit vote split between the parties, handing results to the Liberal Democrats and Labour parties respectively when a Brexit coalition could have comfortably won.

Some shadow cabinet ministers, including Emily Thornberry, have already made clear they would support remain in any referendum, whatever deal a Labour government managed to negotiate. "At the moment there is a good discussion going on but we are very united having that discussion; we don't want to shut down discussion in our party", he said.

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