Jeremy Corbyn has revealed he would adopt a “neutral stance” during a second Brexit referendum if he was Prime Minister.
Speaking on BBC Question Time, the Labour leader was asked by an audience member: “Will you campaign to remain or leave the EU if elected.
“Why would anyone vote Labour without knowing the answer to that question?”
Mr Corbyn said: “I will adopt, as prime minister, if I am at the time, a neutral stance so that I can credibly carry out the results of that to bring communities and country together rather than continuing an endless debate about the EU and Brexit.”
The Labour leader had so far refused to say whether or not he would back Remain or Leave if another Brexit referendum takes place.
The Party’s official policy is to negotiate a new Brexit deal and to put it to the public in another referendum within six months of taking power.
A number of senior Labour figures have spoken in favour of Remain, and confirmed they would campaign to stay in the EU in the event of another vote.
Mr Corbyn drew groans from the audience as he spoke about his Brexit policy.
He said: “One, we will negotiate a credible Leave deal with the European Union,” at which point the audience erupted in laughter.
Tory minister Matt Hancock called Mr Corbyn’s neutral stance an “abject failure of leadership”.
So: how would Corbyn actually VOTE in a second referendum?— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) November 22, 2019
He refuses to say
Abject failure of leadership
Fellow Conservative minister Jake Berry said: “How on earth is Corbyn getting away with this?
“I’m speechless. Brexit is the single biggest issue of our time and he wants to stay quiet. Complete lack of leadership.”
Momentum, the grassroots organisation that campaigns for Jeremy Corbyn, called the neutral stance ‘absolutely right’.
Jeremy Corbyn staying neutral in a Brexit referendum is absolutely right. As prime minister, his job is to bring the country together and implement whatever the people decide. Only Jeremy can unite the country, sort Brexit and let us move on. #bbcqt— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) November 22, 2019
Mr Corbyn was questioned over fears for businesses, anti-Semitism, misogyny, freedom of speech and his support of ousted Bolivia president Evo Morales during a special episode of BBC’s Question Time on Friday.
As they try to tip the balance in the campaign for the December 12 General Election, each leader was being quizzed for half-an-hour during the show hosted by Fiona Bruce in Sheffield.
Mr Corbyn, who plans to re-nationalise key utilities and increase corporation tax, went first and faced a barrage of tough questioning.
After his appearance he sent a tweet in which he failed to mention Brexit.
I want to live in a country where we deal with the worst aspects of poverty in our society, we invest properly in our schools, we give all our children a real chance, and we have a health service that is really there for all of us at all times. #BBCQT— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 22, 2019