McDonnell: Corbyn and I are ‘Remainers at heart’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Photograph: Stefan Roussea

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Labour's John McDonnell has said that he and Jeremy Corbyn are Remainers 'deep' in their hearts, in a last-ditch attempt to win back Remainers planning to vote in other ways at the European elections.

The shadow chancellor told the Wall Street Journal CEO Council conference in London: "Deep in my heart I'm still a Remainer."

Asked if Labour leader Corbyn was also a Remainer in his heart, the shadow chancellor responded without hesitation: "Yes."

McDonnell, however, criticised those attempting to thwart Brexit talks between the Conservatives and Labour, which includes Boris Johnson.

He said: "We have been at this five weeks, we haven't seen the significant shift yet that we require to be able to support a deal.

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"And, let's be absolutely straight, today hasn't helped. We are not near what we want.

"However, we then get a letter signed by a number of senior Conservatives, published this morning, by Boris Johnson... who is certainly going to be in contention for the leadership. Very likely to be the next leader.

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"Could well be prime minister in, literally, months, and in a situation where he in his letter today says he is not going to accept a customs union and, actually, he will overturn the deal that we... negotiate.

"It gives us no security on that. And we expect a responsible government on that."

The shadow chancellor added: "Our big problem now is, if we are going to march our troops in parliament to the top of the hill to vote for a deal, and then that's overturned within weeks, I think that would be a cataclysmic act of bad faith."

Jeremy Corbyn infruriated Remainers after the local election by claiming the results showed that a Brexit deal must be done.

He explained: "I think there's a huge impetus on every MP - and they've all got that message, whether they themselves are Leave or Remain, or the people across the country - that an arrangement has to be made, a deal has to be done, parliament has to resolve this.

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