Brexit Briefing: Labour’s Corbyn Attacks ’Hopelessly Inept’ UK Negotiators

Talking Points

— In a speech at the UK opposition Labour Party’s annual conference, party leader Jeremy Corbyn savaged the UK government’s Brexit negotiating team.

— He also repeated his claim that a cliff-edge Brexit is becoming a reality.

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Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s main opposition Labour Party, has attacked the government’s Brexit negotiators and repeated an earlier claim that “a cliff-edge Brexit is at risk of becoming a reality”.

In a set-piece speech at the end of Labour’s annual conference, he said the ruling Conservative Party’s Brexit agenda “would plunge Britain into a Trump-style race to the bottom in rights and corporate taxes”. We, he added, “are not going to be passive spectators to a hopelessly inept negotiating team putting at risk people’s jobs, rights and living standards”.

While Labour, like the Conservatives, is split on Brexit, Corbyn said the government’s negotiating team is “more interested in posturing for personal advantage than in getting the best deal for the country” and that “never was the national interest so ill-served on such a vital issue”. If there were no other reasons for the Conservatives to go, Corbyn added, “their self-interested Brexit bungling would be reason enough”.

A powerful faction in the Conservative leadership “sees Brexit as a chance to create a tax haven on the shores of Europe… a playground for hedge funds and speculators,” he continued.

While speeches by opposition politicians are rarely market-moving – and neither the Pound nor London shares moved on his speech – it was nonetheless significant as Labour is currently ahead of the Conservatives in the opinion polls. A YouGov poll for The Times, published Wednesday, showed Labour on 43% compared to the Conservatives on 39%.In the June 8 election, Labour gained 30 seats and the Conservatives lost their majority, although Prime Minister Theresa May then struck a deal to govern with the support of 10 MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. While another election is not due until 2022, it could be earlier if the government were to lose a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

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Upcoming UK/EU Event Risk (September 28, All Times GMT)

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