Len McCluskey has reaffirmed his support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit strategy and said he hopes parliament opposes Theresa May’s deal with the EU and sparks an early general election.
Speaking at the Resolution Foundation this morning, the Unite leader said he does “not want to wait until 2022” for the minority Tory government to go because the damage they are doing to the country is too great.
McCluskey said that a Tory Brexit deal will not reflect the interests of working people and that all of the “progressive left people in our nation should be concentrating on, one thing only, removing this government.”
He said, “My personal hope and belief is that in later autumn the deal that comes back to parliament will be rejected.
“It will lead to Theresa May having to resign and it will lead to an early general election in 2019.”
Responding to criticisms that Labour’s Brexit position is not strong enough, McCluskey stated that as the head of a broad church Corbyn was capable of uniting Labour voters who have a range of views on leaving the EU.
He said, “It’s a question of having some faith in the leadership and recognising the difficult waters Corbyn has to navigate through, which is a referendum one hand, clear swathes of Labour heartlands that voted to leave and a Labour membership, two thirds of which wanted to remain.
“That’s the kind of dichotomy that faces Corbyn and I think he’s doing a first class job… If Jeremy Corbyn was the prime minister now and he was negotiating with Europe, I believe we would get a deal that satisfies the whole of our nation.”
McCluskey’s intervention came as the government faced another humiliation over Brexit, after a secret report on the impact leaving the EU will have on the economy was leaked to BuzzFeed.
The report, which was meant for ministers, shows that the UK’s economy will slow under every likely Brexit deal.
The leak further exposed the intractable Brexit conflict within the Tory party, with hard right Conservative MPs lining up to denounce the findings and moderates calling for it be published.
Labour also called for the government to publish the report.
Shadow Brexit minister Matthew Pennycook said, “Labour has made clear since the referendum that Tory Ministers cannot withhold vital information from Parliament and the public about the impact of different Brexit scenarios on jobs and the economy.
“Ministers should publish this information immediately and allow for a full debate in Parliament about its implications.”