Jeremy Corbyn failed UK ‘in hour of need’, Tim Farron says
The LIberal Democrat leader said Labour had “run out of ideas” and “run out of plans for an open and tolerant country”.
Tim Farron has turned his fire on Jeremy Corbyn over his handling of Brexit as he sought to get the Liberal Democrat campaign back on track.
The Lib Dem leader claimed Mr Corbyn and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer had “failed Britain” by refusing to stand up for the rights of European Union citizens.
Mr Farron, who was campaigning in Labour-held and Remain-supporting Cambridge, said Labour had behaved “shamefully” during the passage of the legislation allowing Theresa May to trigger Article 50.
The Lib Dem leader hopes to focus attention back on to the UK’s relationship with the EU after a bruising few days which have seen him sack a would-be MP over allegations of anti-Semitism and face scrutiny over his views on gay sex.
Mr Farron denounced former MP David Ward on Wednesday as “unfit to represent the party” and reversed a decision to let him stand for the party on June 8 in his old constituency of Bradford East, while on Tuesday Mr Farron clarified that he did not think gay sex was a sin after being dogged with questions about his beliefs.
The Lib Dems lost Cambridge in 2015 but hope to win the seat back by stressing their commitment to the rights of EU nationals.
While Mr Corbyn has said he would unilaterally guarantee their rights if he won the election, the Lib Dem leader accused Labour of backing down on the issue in the House of Lords when the Brexit Bill was going through its closing stages in Parliament in March.
“Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Keir Starmer will be remembered as the two people who have failed Britain in its hour of need,” Mr Farron said.
“EU citizens, doctors, nurses and care workers feel that the place they moved to, the place they have made their home, has changed since Brexit. The Liberal Democrats went through the lobbies time after time to protect places like Cambridge and EU citizens and their rights. But Labour sat on their hands and shamefully abstained.
“Brexit has exposed Labour as a party that refuses to step up when they could make a difference. This election is a chance to change the direction of our country. On one side it’s the Tories, Ukip and Labour skipping hand in hand towards hard Brexit. On the other side it’s the Liberal Democrats.”
He said Labour had “run out of ideas” and “run out of plans for an open and tolerant country”.