Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out trying to attempt to reverse Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in June’s referendum.
Speaking to The Huffington Post’s Paul Waugh, Corbyn said he would not support a second referendum on the terms of the so-called Brexit.
“I think we’ve had a referendum, a decision has been made, you have to respect the decision people made. We were given the choice, we after all supported holding a referendum so we must abide by the decision,” Corbyn said.
Corbyn’s position is the opposite of that held by his Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith, who said he would offer the public a second referendum when the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union were clearer.
Corbyn told The Huffington Post there was no question of Britain negotiating a new membership with the European Union.
He said: “They clearly have said ‘no’. Is there a way of having a European Economic Area agreement, possibly via Norway and other countries? Yeah there probably is.”
Corbyn added he is meeting with the Norwegian Labour party in September to discuss the country’s experiences and how Britain might be able to negotiate its access to the single European market in the future.
His comments came ahead of a BBC 2 documentary due to air on Monday night, in which Labour peer Lord Mandelson accused Corbyn of “undermining” and “sabotaging” the Remain campaign.
Many Remain supporters have complained that Corbyn did not campaign hard enough for Britain to stay in the European Union, and some people have suggested that he never wanted Remain to win. Following the referendum result, more than 60 Labour MPs resigned from their frontbench positions, having lost confidence in Corbyn’s leadership.
In the BBC documentary, Mandelson says, according to The Independent:
“It was very difficult to know what Jeremy Corbyn’s motives were. Did he just sort of get out of bed the wrong side every day and not feel [in a] very sort of friendly, happy mood and want to help us?
“Or was there something deeper — did he simply not want to find himself on the same side as the Prime Minister and the Government? Or perhaps he just deep down actually doesn’t think we should remain in the European Union? Who knows?
“We were greatly damaged by Jeremy Corbyn’s stance, no doubt at all about that. Not only was he most of the time absent from the battle, but he was holding back the efforts of Alan Johnson and the Labour In campaign. I mean they felt undermined, at times they felt actually their efforts were being sabotaged by Jeremy Corbyn and the people around him.”
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