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Labour will vote against May’s Chequers plan ‘as it stands’ – Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn gives his keynote speech (Peter Byrne/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

Labour will vote against Theresa May’s Chequers plan “as it stands” and oppose a no-deal Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed.

The Labour leader said his party would call for a general election if Parliament votes down a deal reached by the Prime Minister and Brussels, and told delegates in Liverpool that “all options are on the table” if that fails.

But Mr Corbyn, in his speech to the Labour Party conference, vowed to back a “sensible deal” – saying he would support an outcome that features a customs union and no hard border on the island of Ireland.

And he said Labour would vote against “any reduction in rights, standards or protections and oppose a deregulatory race to the bottom”.

“If you deliver a deal that includes a customs union and no hard border in Ireland, if you protect jobs, people’s rights at work and environmental and consumer standards – then we will support that sensible deal,” he said.

Mr Corbyn received a standing ovation from delegates, and chants of ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’, as he warned the Prime Minister: “If you can’t negotiate that deal then you need to make way for a party that can and will.”

He told the packed auditorium: “As it stands, Labour will vote against the Chequers plan, or whatever is left of it, and oppose leaving the EU with no deal.

“And it is inconceivable that we should crash out of Europe with no deal – that would be a national disaster.

“That is why if Parliament votes down a Tory deal or the Government fails to reach any deal at all we would press for a general election. Failing that, all options are on the table.”

Mr Corbyn said it would be a “piece of cake” for shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer to negotiate a deal with Brussels after he succeeded in getting agreement among party members on Tuesday.

Delegates booed at the mention of Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, who Mr Corbyn said had expressed his “faith” in Brexit Britain by basing his new investment fund in the eurozone.

The Labour leader added: “The Tory Brexiteers unite the politics of the 1950s with the economics of the 19th century, daydreaming about a Britannia that both rules the waves and waives the rules.”

His comments come the day before he will visit EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.

Mr Corbyn will also attend the renaming of a square in memory of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox with her close friends and family.