BIRMINGHAM, England — Labour will resolve Brexit without “ripping up” the U.K.s main trading relationship, Jeremy Corbyn said Thursday.
The Labour leader was joined by his shadow Cabinet as he launched his partys manifesto at an event in Birmingham.
Corbyn positioned his party as the moderate option on Brexit. It has pledged to renegotiate the Brexit deal and then put this renegotiated deal to a fresh referendum within six months of taking office. “So if you want to leave without trashing our economy or selling out our NHS, youll be able to vote for it. If you want to remain, youll be able to vote for that,” Corbyn said.
The manifesto says Labour would seek to “protect” free movement rights and the benefits they have brought but waters down a motion passed by party members at their annual gathering in September, which sought to explicitly “maintain and extend free movement rights.”
In its manifesto, Labour said freedom of movement will continue if the public votes to remain in the EU. If a majority vote for a Brexit deal, the party said free movement would be “subject to negotiations.” The party did not explicitly commit itself to seeking to retain freedom of movement in its current form.
“We recognize the social and economic benefits that free movement has brought both in terms of EU citizens here and U.K. citizens abroad — and we will seek to protect those rights,” according to the manifesto. The party pledged to build “a humane migration system” based on meeting skills and labor shortages in the U.K. economy.
“The Conservatives want to use Brexit to unleash Thatcherism on steroids,” Corbyn said. Labours deal would include membership of the EU customs union and a close relationship with the single market.
The Labour leader said he welcomed the opposition from bad bosses, tax dodgers, healthcare corporations, private internet providers and big polluters. “Labour is on your side,” he said. “Were opposed by the vested interests for standing up for a different kind of society.”
He likened himself to Franklin Roosevelt, the president who led the U.S. out of the Great Depression. Roosevelt “had to take on the rich and powerful in America to do it,” Corbyn said. “Thats why he said: They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.”
Labour has pledged to nationalize public services including rail and internet broadband, and create a million jobs to tackle the climate crisis by investing in renewable energy and green industries. This includes nearly 200,000 jobs in electric vehicle production, 100,000 jobs in wind energy, and 80,000 in solar.
The party has pledged to pay for its plans without increasing VAT, income tax or National Insurance for anyone earning under £80,000.