December 8, 2017 / 12:49 PM / 2 years ago

UK opposition leader Corbyn wants close relationship with Europe

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a United Nations panel on human rights and international cooperation in Geneva, Switzerland, December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

GENEVA (Reuters) - Britain’s opposition Labour party wants a close relationship with the rest of Europe after Brexit, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told an audience at the United Nations in Geneva on Friday.

“We want to see a close and cooperative relationship with our European neighbours outside the European Union, based on solidarity as well as mutual benefit and fair trade, along with a wider proactive internationalism across the globe,” he said.

“My own country, Britain, is at a crossroads,” he said. The vote last year to leave the European Union meant hard thinking had to be done about Britain’s role in the world, he said.

“There are some who want to use Brexit to turn Britain in on itself, rejecting the outside world, viewing everyone as a feared competitor,” he said.

“Others want to use Brexit to put rocket boosters under our current economic system’s insecurities and inequalities. Turning Britain into a deregulated corporate tax haven, low wages, with limited rights, cut-price public services, in a wholly destructive race to the bottom.”

Corbyn said his party stood for a completely different future, drawing on the internationalist traditions of the Labour movement and of Britain.

In a wide-ranging speech about human rights and multilateralism, he did not immediately comment on the Brexit divorce deal struck by Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Commission earlier on Friday.

The European Commission said that enough progress had been made in Brexit negotiations to allow a second phase of talks on future relations to begin.

Reporting by Tom Miles, editing by Larry King

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