Corbyn's European Question
Is the Labour leadership contender pushing his party towards Brexit?
Just where does he stand? The uncertainty over Jeremy Corbyn’s position on the EU came under the microscope again last night as the Labour leadership contenders gathered for one more televised debate. During a sparky encounter in which the far-left MP was forced to defend a range of his policies, Corbyn dialled up the hostile rhetoric, accusing the bloc of “increasingly operating like a free market” and attacking its position on workers’ rights and tax evasion.
Corbyn’s latest salvo raise further questions about what position Labour might take in the EU referendum were he to become leader. The leadership frontrunner has already raised the possibility of a special conference to determine the party’s stance if David Cameron secures opt-outs on worker protection as part of the renegotiation of Britain’s membership. Corbyn now appears on a direct collision with leading pro-EU moderates such as Chuka Umunna, despite the latter’s pledge to work with the Islington North MP if he wins.
The prospect of Corbyn prevailing when the result of the leadership election is declared next weekend may not be as certain as some make out. There are reports members of the powerful Unite union are not voting for him in the numbers expected, and the prospect of many of Labour’s new supporters simply not casting a ballot cannot be excluded. Still, pundits and policymakers alike are now preparing for what was previously unthinkable – and all that could mean for British politics.