Jeremy Corbyn pledges to adopt 'neutral stance' in EU referendum under Labour

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would “adopt a neutral stance to bring communities together” in another EU referendum under his party as he came under fire from voters during a televised grilling in Yorkshire.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the Question Time debate in Sheffield
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the Question Time debate in Sheffield

The Labour leader was questioned over fears for businesses, anti-Semitism, misogyny, freedom of speech and his support of ousted Bolivia president Evo Morales during a special episode of BBC’s Question Time on Friday.

As they try to tip the balance in the campaign for the December 12 General Election, each leader was being quizzed for half-an-hour during the show hosted by Fiona Bruce in Sheffield.

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Mr Corbyn, who plans to re-nationalise key utilities and increase corporation tax, went first and faced a barrage of tough questioning and groans.

He made his clearest comment to date over how he would act in another referendum, which Labour plans to hold between a new deal and the option to Remain within six months of taking power.

“My whole strategy is to bring people together, however they voted in 2016,” Mr Corbyn said.

“We will negotiate a credible leave deal and will put that alongisde the option to Remain in a referendum.

“I will adopt a neutral stance to bring our communities together. This will be a trade deal with Europe or remain in the EU in the next six months.

When quizzed further, Mr Corbyn said: “My role and the role of our government will be to ensure that that referendum is held in a fair atmosphere and we will abide by the result of it.

“And I will adopt, as prime minister, if I am at the time, a neutral stance so that I can credibly carry out the results of that to bring communities and country together rather than continuing an endless debate about the EU and Brexit.”

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn has also urged millions of eligible voters to register before the deadline as the Tories announce plans to raise stamp duty for people from overseas buying UK property.

Foreign individuals and companies buying properties in the UK will face a surcharge levied on top of all other stamp duty payable and charged at 3 per cent.

The party estimates the measure will raise up to £120 million a year, which would be directed at programmes to tackle rough sleeping.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak, Tory candidate for Richmond in North Yorkshire, said: “Evidence shows that by adding significant amounts of demand to limited housing supply, purchases by non-residents inflate house prices.

“That is why we are introducing a higher rate of stamp duty for non-UK residents that will help to address this issue and could raise up to £120 million.”

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems have announced they want to see 300,000 new homes built a year.

A third of the homes would be social rented, with a £10 billion capital infrastructure investment to support this.

In the year to June 2019, 173,660 house builds were completed, according to the Ministry of Housing.