IT is Jeremy Corbyn’s good fortune that Brexit continues to be regarded as a Tory issue. It is not. Labour’s divisions on this issue are just as significant – the only difference is that they’ve been largely masked by the Government’s difficulties.
Yet, if there’s a snap election, Mr Corbyn could be negotiating Britain’s future relationship with the EU and, judging by the leader’s interview with the BBC, he does not appear to have an alternative plan.
He talked about negotiating with the EU over Northern Ireland’s border arrangements – just as Theresa May has been trying to do – but he couldn’t answer the question when asked if he would vote to stay in the European Union if there was a second referendum.
He cited “conjecture” over the wording of the question, but the real reason is that he can’t afford to risk alienating all those voters in Labour’s industrial heartlands in the North who backed Brexit in such large numbers.
And Mr Corbyn’s unease was again self-evident when pressed on the growing groundswell amongst Labour activists for a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. Though he said he would accept any motion passed by the party conference, his preference is a snap election.
Yet here’s the irony. For, while the Government is in disarray, Labour do still trail the Tories in the opinion polls because voters appear to be put off by the Opposition’s left-wing agenda and a disastrous summer overshadowed by the anti-Semitism scandal. It means Mr Corbyn still has many bridges to build with his party – and the country – before any election.