LONDON • Britain's opposition Labour will do everything it can to prevent the country from leaving the European Union without a deal, the party's leader Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday.
Mr Boris Johnson took over as prime minister last Wednesday with a pledge to deliver Brexit by Oct 31, "no ifs or buts", and the government is ramping up preparations for a no-deal exit.
"We will do everything to prevent a no-deal exit and we will do everything to challenge this government," Mr Corbyn told Sky News.
Asked about the prospect of pushing for a no-confidence vote in the government, he said he would "look at the situation" when Parliament returns from its summer break in September. Mr Corbyn said he is ready for a general election at any time.
"We oppose no-deal, and people should have a final say on it," he said. "In the event of a no-deal Brexit, we'll campaign to remain."
Mr Corbyn stuck to his position that if Labour wins a general election before Brexit, which now has an Oct 31 deadline, it will seek to reopen talks. When asked if he ultimately wanted to be a part of the EU, Mr Corbyn said: "It's about investment, jobs, trade and equality, both in and out of the EU."
Speculation of an early election to break the deadlock over Brexit is likely to be fuelled by a YouGov opinion poll in The Sunday Times, which showed the Conservatives had opened up a 10-point lead over Labour since Mr Johnson took over.
Labour's manifesto for an election is being drafted already and is likely to promise another referendum on EU membership, with the party campaigning to remain, people familiar with the matter said.
The party plans a summer-long campaign against Mr Johnson to capitalise on public fears over the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on jobs and state-run services such as healthcare.
Until now, Labour has been wary of backing the "remain" camp because of the risk of alienating pro-Brexit voters in its traditional heartland in northern and central England. But recent party research suggests the losses would be far fewer than previously feared, according to one person involved in the process.
Labour has more to gain from cashing in on the fears of moderate voters in the centre-ground over Mr Johnson's hardline stance towards a no-deal Brexit, the person said.
REUTERS, BLOOMBERG, WASHINGTON POST