This weekend Jeremy Corbyn gave an interview to the Sunday Mirror threatening to vote against Article 50 if “access” to to the single market wasn’t guaranteed. A meaningless platitude – everyone has access to the single market.
Jeremy Corbyn says Labour will vote against Article 50 if the Prime Minister does not guarantee access to the single market
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) November 5, 2016
On Sunday morning Corbyn’s spinners briefed journalists that the Sunday Mirror article was wrong and that Labour would not be voting against Article 50. Tom Watson then publicly slapped Corbyn down, insisting Labour would vote to trigger Article 50: “The people have spoken and we will respect their decision”. A humiliation for the leader.
On Monday, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer confirmed the Corbyn interview was wrong and Labour would not vote against: “No. We will not frustrate the process by simply voting down Article 50”. Then Corbyn himself was forced to tweet a clarification of his own interview:
There must be transparency and accountability on Brexit terms. We won’t block Article 50 but will fight for a Brexit that works for Britain
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) November 6, 2016
Sorted? Nope. Labour’s by-election candidate in Richmond Park, Christian Wolmar, then said that he would defy his party’s position on Article 50: “I think personally I would vote against it”. That Labour’s inability to produce a coherent position on Brexit hasn’t made bigger news is testament to how irrelevant the party has become…