Why this MEP says 'Brexit can still be stopped'
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 9 Nov 2017
An MEP has signalled he believes Brexit could still be halted in its tracks.
Richard Corbett was recently elected leader of Labour MEPs in the European Parliament, giving him a seat on the party’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC).
The NEC position gives the remain-campaigner a strong voice in the future direction of the party.
The Yorkshire and Humber MEP, who studied at Hull University, has wasted no time since taking up the leadership in laying out how Labour could derail plans to leave the European Union.
Richard Corbett says Labour 'almost certain' to vote against EU deal in Parliament
“Whilst we’re heading towards a very costly and damaging Tory Brexit, we should keep all of our options open, because we may well have to oppose that Brexit if it’s going to be a complete disaster,” he said.
The lifelong Europhile's comments could anger his own constituents, since most of them voted to exit the bloc, with Hull, the East Riding, North Lincolnshire and even large cities such as Sheffield voting out at the referendum.
Mr Corbett suggested Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour MPs in the House of Commons were “almost certain” to vote against any negotiated deal that comes back from Brussels.
“If it’s rejected then you have to have an assessment of what we do now: do we reconsider Brexit?” he asked.
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary and MP for Haltemprice and Howden, is due in Brussels on Thursday, November 9, to join his team for the sixth round of negotiations.
The senior East Yorkshire Cabinet member has been in Rome and Poland this week on what has been dubbed a “charm offensive” in an attempt to push on the deadlocked talks, which have yet to move on to looking at a future trade agreement.
Hull's Labour MPs – Diana Johnson, Emma Hardy and Karl Turner – back Brexit
Mr Corbett said while some in his party were determined to honour the 2016 vote, he was committed to fighting against the leave result.
All three Hull MPs – Diana Johnson, Karl Turner and Emma Hardy – have given their backing to following through on the wishes of their constituents, after the city voted by 67 per cent to cancel Britain's EU membership.
Ms Johnson, Mr Turner and Ms Hardy’s predecessor, Alan Johnson, all voted to trigger Article 50 – the mechanism starting Britain’s two-year long EU divorce – in March.
But Mr Corbett said: “This was a narrow result and one won on a pack of lies. It was only an advisory referendum.
“As time moves on, it’s less about the principle of what we should have done in relation to last year’s referendum – it’s increasingly about how we react to next year’s real Brexit as it emerges and that will be what the Tories manage in the end to negotiate as a Brexit deal.
“And what they are negotiating certainly looks like it will be very damaging to the country."
The 62-year-old has been an MEP for 16 years – representing Hull for 13 of those years – but faces losing his pre-expenses salary of £69,370 when Britain stops being a member of the EU in March 2019.
Mr Corbett was also previously an advisor to the first European Council president, Herman van Rompuy, for five years after he was voted out of parliament in 2009. He was re-elected in 2014.
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