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Abandon Leave and Remain labels to halt 'endless loop' on Brexit, says Corbyn

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn launches his party's European election campaign at the Drill Hall Library at the University of Kent in Chatham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 9, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Labour. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn has called on voters to abandon the labels of Leave and Remain to stop the Brexit debate becoming an "endless loop".

Launching Labour's campaign for the European Parliament elections, Mr Corbyn also said the UK Government needed to move away from its red lines in cross-party talks on Brexit.

Mr Corbyn said: "Who wants to live in a country stuck in this endless loop? What we need is a bit of understanding.”

"Some people seem to look at the issue the wrong way around. They tend to think the first question is Leave or Remain, as if either is an end in itself.”

"I think they're wrong. The first question is: what kind of society do we want to be?"

The Labour leader suggested the option of a second referendum could be a "healing process".

Speaking in Chatham, Kent, he said: "The view we put forward, the party conference put this forward, the national executive agreed this, that we should include the option of having a ballot on a public vote on the outcome of the talks and negotiations on what we're putting forward.”

"I would want that to be seen as a healing process, and bringing this whole process to a conclusion.”

"Nothing is easy in this. But our essential message has to be to bring people together, and that's the basis on which we've approached both what we've done in Parliament and in the negotiation itself."

Mr Corbyn said the UK Government had failed to make a "big offer" in the talks aimed at ending the Brexit deadlock.

He said: "So far in those talks, there has been no big offer, and the red lines remain.”

"It's difficult negotiating with a disintegrating Government with Cabinet ministers jockeying for the succession, rather than working for an agreement.”

"It's in the country's interests to try to get this sorted one way or another.”

"The talks that we have had with the Government have been difficult... because the Government is in some degree of disarray itself.”

"They are still ongoing. The Government has to move its red lines."

In a swipe at Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, Mr Corbyn said: "I'm appalled at the remarks made by Farage and many others that do create a degree of toxicity in our society.”

"And we have to stand up against it."

Mr Corbyn used the launch to promise to address the "inequalities that helped fuel" the 2016 Brexit vote, insisting the "real divide in our country" is not over Europe.

The UK and Gibraltar will take part in the May 23 Euro election because of Parliament's deadlock over a Brexit deal and the failure of Labour-Tory talks.

Mr Corbyn pinned the blame on Theresa May's Government's "complete failure on Brexit".

His attack comes after the UK Government and Labour agreed on Wednesday to resume cross-party talks next week.

Downing Street said it followed a second day of "extended" discussions in Whitehall which "demonstrates the seriousness with which both sides are approaching these talks".

A No 10 spokesman said there would be more meetings of the working groups looking at specific issues as well as further exchanges of documents.

Mrs May's official spokesman told reporters on Thursday: "The discussions have been serious across a number of different areas, but clearly there remain outstanding matters that need to be nailed down.”

"There is definitely significant work still to do if we are to find a unified way forward."

A Labour Party spokesman said the negotiating teams were working to establish "scope for agreement" and would meet again at the beginning of next week.

Mr Corbyn said that while Labour will continue to work for its alternative Brexit plan, which would protect jobs and living standards, it would never accept the Government's "bad deal" or a "disastrous" no deal.

"So if we can't get a sensible deal, along the lines of our alternative plan, or a general election, Labour backs the option of a public vote."

Pic by Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

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