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Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell: Their strategy on Brexit is stronger than some commentators would have you believe.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell: Their strategy on Brexit is stronger than some commentators would have you believe [Image: Getty].

Tax barrister and former Ed Miliband advisor Jolyon Maugham wants you to think John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn have painted themselves into a corner on Brexit.

He says they have left themselves powerless after Mr McDonnell said Labour would not block or delay any legislation to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and leave the EU.

But he is not looking at the bigger picture.

There is nothing to stop Labour from asserting its demands for full, tariff-free access to the single market and protection of UK jobs and living standards before any legislation reaches Parliament.

If the Tories refuse to include it in their deal, and present an Article 50 Bill without it, Labour may then wave it through, saying a quick resolution to the issue is what the people of the UK want, and that the consequences are the responsibility of the Conservative Government.

So, after the legislation has gone through – in whatever form – Labour ends up in an excellent position.

Mr McDonnell (and Mr Corbyn) will be able to say one of two things: Their party ensured the deal under which the UK leaves the EU includes the necessary protections for trade and jobs; or that the lack of such protections is entirely the fault of the Conservative Party.

Those are both excellent positions from which to campaign in a general election.

Perhaps Mr Maugham didn’t think of them because he’s too busy fretting over whether Parliament has control.

Speaking yesterday on the economy John McDonnell gave a little more detail of the Labour Party’s position on Brexit. “It’s time we all were more positive about Brexit,” he said, in words that will have surprised few observers of Labour’s referendum campaign.

And he continued: “We are insisting on full, tariff-free access to the Single Market for our businesses because this is the best way to protect jobs and living standards here.”

“Labour wants to see an ambitious Brexit Britain.

“And the British public know that only a Labour government can make an economic success of Brexit, as we are the only party prepared to make the hard choices, and invest seriously to grow a post-Brexit Britain we can all be proud of.”

Labour has said it will not block or delay an Article 50 Bill. This would seem to have as its consequence that Labour will not seek to amend it either. Tabling Amendments to the Bill in the Commons or Lords will inevitably cause delay. And how, without the sanction of blocking or delaying a Bill that does not contain them, is Labour to compel the government to adopt its amendments? This stance would hand complete control of Brexit negotiations over to the government.

Source: Labour has checkmated itself on Brexit

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