Corbyn heads to Brussels for another Barnier meeting to "break Brexit logjam"

Catherine Neilan
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The only problem is, Corbyn has no bearing on the outcome (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is heading to Brussels to meet with leading figures from the EU as they convene for the European Council.

Labour says he wants to "help move the talks forwards and break the Brexit logjam", accusing the government of "bungling" talks so far. The only problem is, Corbyn has no bearing on the outcome.

The opposition leader, alongside shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner will meet with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. There will also be bilateral meetings with the Italian, Swedish and Portuguese Prime Ministers.

This is not the first time he has inveigled himself in Brexit talks, having met with Barnier back in July.

“I am unapologetic in taking every opportunity to seek to influence the final Brexit deal in the interests of the many, not just the few," Corbyn said.

He added: “A no-deal Brexit would be a bad deal for Britain, threatening jobs and living standards. It would also harm our European neighbours. That’s why it’s in all our interests to increase the pressure for real progress in the current talks and move on to negotiations about our future trading relationship."

However the European Commission told City A.M. both then and now that the meeting was just a courtesy. A spokesman pointed to comments by Barnier earlier this year, when he said: "I have always made it clear that we want to listen to the different points of view in the British debate. It is only natural […] Of course, I will only negotiate with the UK government."

Corbyn's trip comes as a group of Tory MPs rounded on the Labour leader, claiming his position on a no deal scenario was causing "material harm" to Britain's side in the talks.

A letter written by Suella Fernandes and signed by 18 other MPs including Owen Patterson, Crispin Blunt and Charlie Elphicke, said Labour was "betraying the national interest".

She also called on Corbyn to "discipline" the 18 Labour MEPs who used an advisory vote to block Brexit negotiations from progressing to the next stage, which will allow David Davis and his counterpart Michel Barnier to discuss trade and transition.

Davis has already written to Corbyn saying he was "disappointed" by the rebellion last week and asking him to reprimand those involved.

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