Jeremy Corbyn’s outlines socialist vision for Britain

15 April 2016
Jeremy Corbyn announced at a speech in central London that the Labour party is fully behind continued EU membership despite its "shortcomings”. This is his first significant intervention in the referendum campaign. Mr Corbyn has argued that there is a “strong socialist case” for Britain to remain in the EU. This includes the ability to continue to fight for reform, raise environmental standards, heighten consumer safeguards and better protect workers' rights.
Mr Corbyn said that in regards to his party’s stance on the EU, there was "nothing half-hearted" about the sentiment. He confirmed that the Labour party would continue to back the Remain campaign in the lead-up to polling day. Mr Corbyn had previously voted to come out of the EU back in 1975. However, during the speech Mr Corbyn addressed some of the previous concerns that he had had in regards to the EU, including a lack of democratic accountability and the focus on privatisation of public services. He stated: "Europe needs to change. But that change can only come from working with our allies in the EU. It's perfectly possible to be critical and still be convinced we need to remain a member."
Mr Corbyn was vocal in his praise for EU regulations on maternity leave, holiday entitlement and other workers' rights. He levelled an accusation at the Leave campaign saying that it wanted to make Britain "the safe haven of choice for the ill-gotten gains of every dodgy oligarch, dictator or rogue corporation". When asked about the on-going concerns over high levels of immigration in the UK, Mr Corbyn argued that the issue is not with people coming to work from across the continent, but with corrupt employers offering poor pay and working conditions.
The Remain campaign has highlighted the importance of having Labour voters back the EU referendum in June. However, a number of Labour MPs have cited their concern about their leader's enthusiasm for the European Union. Mr Corbyn answered critics by admitting that he did formerly hold mixed feelings about the EU and voted against the Lisbon Treaty in 2008. However, in his speech he explained his current feelings on the matter: "You cannot build a better world unless you engage with the world, build allies and deliver change. The EU, warts and all, has proved itself to be a crucial international framework to do that.”
A proportion of Labour supporters from the Leave campaign have criticised Mr Corbyn’s backing of the Remain campaign. John Mills, Labour donor and deputy chairman of Vote Leave's board, said in an interview with BBC Breakfast: "I am a bit disappointed that Jeremy Corbyn is coming out so strongly in favour of staying in, partly because I don't think that's really where quite a large proportion of Labour support is."
The Vote Leave campaign includes supporters such as London mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Michael Gove. MP Gisela Stuart, who co-chairs Vote Leave, has said workers' rights have been won through committed campaigning in the UK, not Europe. Stuart said: "If we want to take back control of our economy, our democracy and the £350m we hand to Brussels each week the only safe option is to Vote Leave.” The referendum vote will take place on 23rd June.


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