Labour MP told there is ‘nothing progressive or socialist’ about supporting Brexit

Caroline Flint is asked to address a point from a Labour activist by Fiona Bruce on Question Time. P

Caroline Flint is asked to address a point from a Labour activist by Fiona Bruce on Question Time. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

A former Labour Party advisor has slammed Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit position as she also criticised Caroline Flint MP for failing to show 'progressive' values by supporting a departure from the EU.

The Question Time panel in Halifax. Photograph: BBC.

The Question Time panel in Halifax. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

The comments were provoked by an audience member in Halifax asking: "Will we have left the EU before Jeremy Corbyn finally makes a decision on the Labour Party's Brexit policy?"

Former Labour advisor and party activist Ayesha Hazarika said she had become deeply disappointed with the party as it became "Vicki Pollard with their yeah, but no but yeah but no but" ever-changing positions.

She pointed out that "more positions than the karma sutra", as she passionately explained her frustration with the party.

"You either go for no-deal Brexit or it's about revoking Article 50 and staying."

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And as she turned to Caroline Flint MP, she said: "I can't believe the socialist internationalist left-wing party is on the same side of Brexit as people like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

"Politics about difficult decisions - this is not easy - it is very difficult, but it is about strong choices.

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"I don't know how Jeremy Corbyn can support something which will destroy our economy, cost jobs, hammer public services and divide this country even more.

"What left-leaning socialist person would want that?"

As Caroline Flint tried to avoid the point by talking instead about the Conservatives, she was asked by Fiona Bruce to defend herself against those comments.

Flint told Hazarika that being "progressive" is "about being a democrat".

"I think that actually trying to secure what you're asking for Ayesha, is an orderly Brexit, which keeps a close relationship with the European Union, but allows some different ways that chart our own future.

"And maybe address some of those things that we appear to ignore whilst we remain in the European Union. That is what it's about being a progressive."

As Hazarika pointed out "it is not going to happen", Flint repeatedly shouted back "yes it can happen" if there is a deal.

On the topic of a second referendum, Flint said remaining should not be an option and it should be "deal or no deal".

But political commentator Hazarika pointed out the decision will go back to the people - most likely through a general election - and it will be a "de facto Brexit referendum."

She warned: "The Labour Party is going to have to pick a side. And I tell you something the party, based on the last set of European elections, the Labour Party will be hammered."

But Flint insisted it would be by the Brexit Party - not the pro-Remain parties that 2017 general election voters turned to in those sets of elections.

Earlier in the programme Caroline Flint rowed back on her comments made during her Marr interview days before.

She said: "Where I differ with those who were voting leave and some of the hard Brexiteers is the idea we can leave without a deal is incredibly dangerous."

But Bruce took exception with this, claiming Flint had said "if we got to the point where no-deal was the only option presented you would support it."

But Flint insisted that was not her point.

"No what I said was if we get pushed, or channelled into a situation where parliament is being asked to vote to revoke Article 50 - which will basically put a stop on us leaving the European Union - I would not vote to revoke Article 50.

She continued: "But what has happened in parliament is we have hardliners on both sides of the argument that no-deal would never be good enough, and between them they have done everything to frustrate that deal.

"What I won't have is being bullied and blackmailed into stopping Brexit because others won't let us get a deal and move on."

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