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No-deal Brexit will not be sweet for food prices, Corbyn warns shoppers

The Labour leader bought some honey as he met locals at a market in Scarborough.

(Nigel Roddis/PA)
(Nigel Roddis/PA)

Jeremy Corbyn bought some local Yorkshire honey as he warned shoppers in Scarborough about the impact a “catastrophic” no-deal Brexit could have on their household bills.

The Labour leader snapped up the £4.95 jar at the town’s Public Market Hall on Friday before explaining how his party will do “everything” to take no deal off the table.

Mr Corbyn was speaking after a study by the University of Sussex suggested a deal-less departure from the European Union could cause family food bills to rise by £220 a year.

“A no-deal Brexit would mean a rapid rise in food prices, it would mean probably a loss of tourists from Europe coming,” he said.

“It would mean a massive impact on the manufacturing industry all across the North of England, because the manufacturing industries mainly supply to Europe. Tariffs will come in, therefore that market will go.”

PM Boris Johnson has made a declaration to leave by October 31, regardless of whether he can secure a new deal with Brussels.

As part of preparations for no deal, Chancellor Sajid Javid on Thursday announced a £2.1 billion funding package, including £1.1 billion committed to plans to leave on Halloween and £1 billion held in reserve.

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Jeremy Corbyn meets shoppers in Scarborough (Nigel Roddis/PA)

Asked what his party would do to stop a no-deal exit, Mr Corbyn said: “We will do everything to take no deal off the table.

“If no deal goes through Parliament, which I doubt, but if it did go through Parliament, we would insist on a referendum between no deal and Remain, in which case we would support Remain.

“We will vote against no deal in Parliament, and we will, at the appropriate moment, table a motion of no confidence in the Government.

“We have no confidence in their ability to deliver anything, but particularly a no-deal Brexit which I think would be catastrophic for this country.”

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Jeremy Corbyn enjoys the Public Market Hall (Nigel Roddis/PA)

It was put to the Labour leader that many Leave supporters might see a rise in food costs as a reasonable price to pay for leaving the EU.

He responded: “Well, I just say to them to think very carefully about that, because it’s not just food prices that will go up, it’s also other imported goods.

“If there is a deal done with the United States then the price will be high – the price will be ‘America first’, the price will be access to our health service by American healthcare companies, and it will be deregulation of our working conditions and our consumer rights.”

Discussing Labour’s performance in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, where the party finished fourth, Mr Corbyn said he was “disappointed”.

“The Liberal Democrats won it after doing a deal with Plaid Cymru and the Greens,” he said.

“I think that a lot of voters were determined to get rid of the Conservatives and they voted accordingly. So we were squeezed, but it’s a place we have not held for a very long time. The area has changed a bit.”

During his visit to Scarborough, Mr Corbyn met several shoppers, including one mother who told him she was struggling “to make ends meet”.

The Labour leader told reporters: “Her problems are low wages, but the other problem she has is social care, which she told me about.

“The issues of the lack of social care availability, and the very high cost of it, mean people having to sell property in order just to put somebody through social care.

“That’s not right, we need a social care system which guarantees social care for all.”

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