Jeremy Corbyn today claimed a no deal Brexit would be catastrophic as he defended flying into Brussels for rival talks.
The Labour leader said he wanted to make sure Theresa May’s negotiations were ‘on track’ and insisted he would not ‘countenance’ a no deal scenario.
Mr Corbyn said it was up to the Prime Minister to get her talks ‘back on track’ condemned her for presiding over ‘chaos’.
He refused to say he would definitely implement what Mrs May negotiates if he enters No 10 before March 2019.
Mrs May will arrive in Brussels later for a crucial summit that will define the next stage of the Brexit talks.
Amid fears the Labour intervention would confuse the British position, No 10 played down the visit and said ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s diary is a matter for Jeremy Corbyn and his team’.
Jeremy Corbyn, pictured posing for a selfie with Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon today at a meeting of socialist politicians in Brussels, risked imperiling Theresa May’s address to the EU tonight by holding his own rival talks in the Belgian capital
The PM has been engaged in a high-stakes diplomatic push this week aimed at tomorrow’s decision by EU leaders whether trade talks can begin.
Mr Corbyn is meeting EU negotiator Michel Barnier and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani. He will also sit down with the leaders of Italy, Sweden and Portugal.
The Labour leader told Sky News: ‘We are here to make sure that the negotiations are on track so that we defend jobs in Britain and make sure there is trade access to Europe in future.
‘We are here to support the interests of the people of Britain in the negotiations with Europe.
‘The Prime Minister has managed to upset everybody and has a warring Cabinet.
‘We cannot countenance the idea we should rush headlong into no deal with Europe.’
Mr Corbyn said leaving the EU without a deal would mean World Trade Organisation tariffs being imposed in March 2019 – something he branded ‘catastrophic’ for manufacturing.
He said: ‘We would have problems throughout the economy.’
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured today in Brussels) claimed a no deal Brexit would be catastrophic as he defended flying into Brussels for rival talks
The Labour leader is scheduled to hold talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier (pictured last week at the EU Commission) and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani
Mr Corbyn said: ‘As the Government’s splits and Brexit bungling become ever more damaging, Labour stands ready to take up responsibility for the Brexit negotiations.
‘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.
‘Far from viewing the European Union as ‘the enemy’, Labour would conduct negotiations in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect with the aim of achieving a strong settlement for Britain and a new relationship with Europe.’
Mr Corbyn said he would negotiate a ‘jobs first Brexit’ that would secure ‘tariff free access to the single market’.
He said: ‘The UK is leaving the European Union, but how we do so will be crucial to our country’s future for decades to come.
‘The Government is lurching towards a no-deal Brexit, egged on by a powerful faction which wants to use Brexit to turn Britain into a deregulated tax haven.’
Theresa May (pictured today arriving in Brussles) has been engaged in a high-stakes diplomatic push this week aimed at tomorrow’s decision by EU leaders whether trade talks can begin
Tory MP Philip Davies mocked the Labour leader’s trip today – but warned he could undermine Britain negotiations.
He told Sky News: ‘I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn’s presence there is going to be very helpful if he’s going to say that whatever the EU asks for, he’s going to agree with.
‘I’m sure that behind closed doors they will be laughing their socks off at Jeremy Corbyn, saying he’s a soft touch.’
Sir Keir today urged the Government to stop digging its heels in over the Brexit bill – a crucial issue set to provoke EU leaders into blocking trade talks tomorrow.
The shadow Brexit secretary said Labour wanted the bill to be as low as possible but has accepted the possibility of long term payments for access to the single market.
He told the Today programme: ‘What we want is both sides, both sides to be flexible and both sides to come together.
‘Everybody wants a deal. A deal is needed for the UK, a deal is needed for the EU.
‘I have spoken to hundreds of businesses across the UK and they are all of one mind: we need a deal.’
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer (pictured on Sunday with Robert Peston) said Labour wanted the bill to be as low as possible but has accepted the possibility of long term payments for access to the single market