British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will urge both pro-EU voters and Brexit supporters on Thursday to vote for his opposition party at this month’s European election, a poll he blamed on the Conservative government’s “complete failure” to steer the country out of the bloc.
Again setting out Labour’s stance that a second referendum is an option only to stop the government’s “bad deal” or leaving the European Union without an agreement, Corbyn will call on voters to see beyond divisions over Brexit to back his party.
The need to contest elections to the European Parliament on May 23 - after the country failed to meet an original March 29 deadline and still has not agreed on a deal for the departure - poses difficulties for both Labour and Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives.
Both parties have internal divisions over Europe and both were punished by voters in local elections last week over the delay to Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May could reach a Brexit deal with the opposition Labour Party within days, a leading Conservative Party figure said on Saturday, after senior ministers urged compromise following poor local election results.
Ruth Davidson, the Conservatives’ leader in Scotland, told party members that a cross-partisan agreement on Brexit was needed before this month’s European elections, or Britain’s major parties would face an even bigger backlash from voters.
The Conservatives lost 1,332 seats on English local councils that were up for re-election, and Labour - which would typically aim to gain hundreds of seats in a mid-term vote - instead lost 81.
Many voters expressed frustration at May’s failure to have taken Britain out of the European Union, almost three years after the country decided to leave in a referendum.
“If we thought yesterday’s results were a wake-up call, just wait for the European elections on the 23rd of May,” Davidson told a party conference in Aberdeen.
The U.K. parliament declared a symbolic climate change emergency on Wednesday, backing a call by opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for “rapid and dramatic action” to protect the environment for generations to come. The measure was passed as an opposition motion, using a procedure typically ignored by the ruling party, and has no direct consequences for policy.
But it is a nod to an increasing vocal activist movement particularly among young people in Europe, who have staged school strikes and civil disobedience campaigns to demand action. Eleven days of protests by the Extinction Rebellion activist group caused major disruptions in central London in recent weeks, and Swedish schoolgirl campaigner Greta Thunberg addressed lawmakers on a high profile visit. The group set up camps that blocked off major roads in the capital, disrupted transport and targeted major institutions such as Goldman Sachs and Shell.
Jeremy Corbyn: “We have no time to waste. We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now,” Corbyn told parliament. Today, we have the opportunity to say, ‘We hear you’ … By becoming the first parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency, we could, and I hope we do, set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments all around the world.”