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Fri Sep 28, 2018 09:34AM
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, gives a press conference after the meeting with senior EU officials in Brussels on September 27, 2018.  (AFP photo)UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, gives a press conference after the meeting with senior EU officials in Brussels on September 27, 2018. (AFP photo)

The Leader of Britain’s Labour Party has warned that he will vote down anything that fails to satisfy his party’s criteria for the United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels where he held talks with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Corbyn said Labour would vote against a Brexit deal based on Prime Minister Theresa May’s so-called Chequers proposals.

“As it stands, Labour will vote against the Chequers plan or whatever is left of it and oppose leaving the EU with no deal,” Corbyn said.

It was the strongest warning yet to a prime minister whose plan to leave the EU is hanging by a thread.

“If you deliver a deal that includes a customs union and no hard border in Ireland, if you protect jobs, people’s rights at work and environmental standards, then we will support that sensible deal,” he added.

Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said earlier this week that his party may push for Britain’s continued membership in the EU now that talks on the country’s withdrawal from the bloc have hit an impasse.

The British premier faces increasing pressure both from the opposition and from senior members of her own Conservative Party over her controversial Brexit plan.

If May fails to go through the parliament with her Brexit deal, there would either be a reshuffle in the leadership of the Conservative Party, which means she would be replaced with another prime minister who will lead renewed Brexit talks, or there would be a situation where ruling party could call snap elections, giving the chance to the opposition Labour to form a government and steer Britain through Brexit talks.

Both London and Brussels hope to get a final Brexit deal in October to give enough time to ratify it by Brexit day on March 29, 2019, though few diplomats expect the deal to be struck until months later.

Supporters of Brexit acknowledge there may be some short-term problems for Britain’s $2.9 trillion economy, but that long-term it will prosper when cut free from the EU which they cast as a failing German-dominated experiment in European integration.

EU countries will suffer long-term damage equivalent to about 1.5 percent of annual economic output if Britain leaves the bloc without a free trade deal next year, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.

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