Labour’s Emily Thornberry claims it ‘doesn’t matter’ that Jeremy Corbyn won’t say where he stands on Brexit after she and fellow Remainers were sidelined from election campaign
- Emily Thornberry has had a low profile during the general election campaign
- Ms Thornberry has now emerged and defended Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit stance
- Shadow foreign secretary said it ‘doesn’t really matter what Jeremy’s position is’
- She told sceptical voters they are voting for a ‘team’ and not for the ‘manager’
Emily Thornberry has claimed it ‘doesn’t really matter’ what Jeremy Corbyn’s position is on Brexit.
The Labour leader has faced heavy criticism over his decision to stay neutral on the UK’s departure from the EU.
But the shadow foreign secretary said Mr Corbyn’s personal view on the issue was not important because ‘what matters is what the public thinks’.
Meanwhile, Ms Thornberry also revealed her message to voters who like the Labour Party but are sceptical about Mr Corbyn is that they are voting for the ‘team’ and not the ‘manager’.
The ardent Remainer also admitted that the Labour leadership has kept her away from the media during the election campaign as she claimed she is ‘not hiding’.
Emily Thornberry, pictured in Canterbury on December 1 alongside Labour MP candidate Rosie Duffield, said Jeremy Corbyn’s personal stance on Brexit ‘doesn’t really matter’
Mr Corbyn, pictured at a campaign event in London yesterday, has pledged to be an ‘honest broker’ on Brexit by not picking a side
Ms Thornberry has been one of Labour’s most prominent voices under Mr Corbyn’s leadership but she has been sidelined since the start of the battle for Number 10.
Party figures are concerned that Ms Thornberry and fellow pro-EU Labour voices like shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer could harm its chances of clinging onto its Leave-voting heartlands in the Midlands and the north of England.
Labour is not advocating for Leave or Remain during the election campaign and is instead promising to give voters a second referendum on EU membership.
A Labour government would negotiate a new Brexit deal and then pitch it against Remain in a national ballot.
The party would choose a side in the run up to that vote but Mr Corbyn has said he will always stay neutral on the subject so he can implement whatever the final decision of the British public is.
The Tories have ridiculed Mr Corbyn’s ‘honest broker’ position and questioned how he could negotiate a new Brexit deal with Brussels without committing to actually campaign for it.
But Ms Thornberry told The Mirror in her first newspaper interview of the election that the Labour leader’s personal views on Brexit are not what matters.
‘It doesn’t really matter what Jeremy’s position is,’ she said.
‘What matters is what the public thinks, I think people can make their own minds up.’
Labour has not been ahead of the Tories in any opinion poll published during the election campaign so far and Ms Thornberry reportedly said it ‘feels like’ the party is behind.
Ms Thornberry has kept a low profile during this election campaign but she has insisted she is ‘not hiding’, pointing to the fact media appearances are decided by party bosses
A new YouGov poll gives the Tories a nine point lead over the Labour Party with eight days left until December 8
However, she insisted Labour could still spring a surprise on polling day, describing herself as a ‘great optimist’.
After the 2017 general election some senior Labour figures tried to spin the result as a victory for the party on the grounds that it had done better than expected.
But Ms Thornberry said forming a government would be the measure of success or failure after December 12.
She said: ‘All that matters is power. What matters is Labour getting into power.’
Ms Thornberry made the comments during a campaign tour of the south coast of England.
She apparently told Labour activists during the trip that their message to sceptical voters should be that they ‘weren’t voting for the manager, they were voting for the team’.