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Jeremy Corbyn ducks early election question and attacks media harassment

Published 05/11/2016

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on Theresa May to set out her Brexit negotiating terms to Parliament
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on Theresa May to set out her Brexit negotiating terms to Parliament "without delay"

Jeremy Corbyn ducked questions over whether he would welcome an early election as he accused the media of harassing him.

In a speech to a left wing think tank, the Labour leader said Theresa May must set out her Brexit negotiating terms to Parliament "without delay" in the wake of the High Court ruling that MPs should be allowed to vote on the triggering of Article 50.

He claimed the Government opposes democratic scrutiny of its plans because "there aren't any".

The surprise legal ruling followed by the resignation of Tory MP Stephen Phillips has fuelled speculation that Mrs May will end up going to the polls before 2020.

Mr Corbyn refused to say whether he would be happy if there was an early election when asked by ITV.

The single question pitched at the Labour leader after his address in central London left him clearly irked.

As aides intervened to stop him being quizzed by the media, he walked away saying: "Can we go outside because we are being harassed here?"

Mr Corbyn told the conference organised by Class (Centre for Labour and Social Studies) that the Prime Minister was leading a "mean minded, backward looking" government that is stuck in a Thatcherite time warp.

Labour would go after tax dodgers and put an end to "shabby" sweetheart deals with big business, he said.

"There is nothing more unpatriotic than not paying your taxes," he said.

Calling for greater transparency about the Government's plans for EU withdrawal, Mr Corbyn said all UK businesses should be given "assurances" over the impact of Brexit to match those made to Japanese car-maker Nissan before its announcement of new investment in Sunderland.

He said: "All our businesses need the kind of assurances that apparently Nissan has had about the shape of the Government's Brexit plans to make the right investment decisions.

"Thursday's High Court decision underlines the necessity that the Prime Minister brings the Government's negotiating terms for Brexit to Parliament without delay.

"We accept and respect the decision to leave the European Union. But there must be transparency and accountability to Parliament about the Government's plans.

"I suspect the Government opposes democratic scrutiny of its plans because - frankly - there aren't any plans, beyond the hollow rhetoric of 'Brexit means Brexit'."

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