Brexit negotiations: Theresa May is 'failing Britain', Jeremy Corbyn says

Theresa May is “failing Britain” in the Brexit negotiations, Jeremy Corbyn is to warn in a major speech as he claims the pro-Brexit wing of the Conservative party is actively seeking a no-deal outcome to turn the UK into a “deregulated tax haven”.  

In a speech at the Co-operative party conference on Saturday, Mr Corbyn will also hail Labour’s “new consensus for the economy” and suggest gig-economy firms such as Uber and Deliveroo could be transformed into co-operatives so employees can collectively set pay and conditions. 

The Labour leader’s comments come after Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, warned the talks had hit a “disturbing deadlock” in Brussels and had completely ground to a halt on the question of post-Brexit payments – often referred to as the divorce bill. 

The Prime Minister also used an appearance in the Commons this week to outline how the Government is preparing for all possible outcomes in the negotiations, including allocating funds for the talks collapsing without a deal. 

“With each passing day they are driving us closer to a no deal Brexit,” he said. “Let’s be clear: no deal is the worst possible deal. It would leave us with World Trade Organisation tariffs and restrictions instead of the full access to European markets we need.”

“The Tories are transparently failing Britain in the Brexit negotiations. They are making a shocking mess of Brexit. They are split down the middle, negotiating with each other instead of the EU.

“The risk would be that key manufacturers leave for the European mainland, taking skilled jobs with them. In sector after sector, ‘no deal’ could prove to be an economic disaster.”

“Theresa May’s Cabinet of chaos is rising a jobs meltdown across Britain. A powerful faction of the Conservatives want a no-deal outcome because they think they can use it to turn our economy into a deregulated tax haven. We must not let them.”

Mr Corbyn will also use his address to describe the Conservatives’ economic model as “broken”, citing the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which claimed this week that higher income tax rates for the rich would help reduce inequality. 

Hailing Labour’s “new consensus” for the economy, he will say: “The Chancellor Philip Hammond says that Labour poses an ‘existential challenge to our economic model. He is absolutely right, we do. “I am not going to sit back when their economic mode allows homelessness to double, four million children to live in poverty and over a million people not getting the care they need. 

“The new consensus will reward the real wealth creators – that means all of us. It will genuinely value people and communities – and invest in them. It will create an economy fit for the 21st Century, with a state that’s not afraid to act when something goes wrong, but also takes action to make sure things work in the first place.”

He will add that the “gig economy firms” like the taxi service Uber could be replaced by co-operatives, in which drivers collectively set pay and conditions and share or re-invest the profits from their work. 

He will highlight proposals in a report, published in June, which suggested that ownership and control of the growing number of robots in the workplace could be put “in the hands of those who work with them”, allowing the proceeds to be used to fund higher wages and shorter working hours rather than enriching a few at the top.

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