Britain will have to consider its global role after deciding to leave the European Union, but it wants close ties with Europe, the main UK parliamentary opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said in Geneva on Friday.
“Britain is at a crossroads,” he said at the UN in Geneva. “The decision by British people to leave the EU in last year’s referendum means there has to be a lot of hard thinking about our role in the world,” Xinhua reported.
Corbyn, who leads the Labor Party, spoke to journalists at the United Nations in Geneva after making a speech on human rights and international cooperation and on a day the EU said it and Britain had moved closer in agreeing terms of their divorce.
He said some people want to use Brexit, its decision to leave the EU, “to turn Britain in on itself rejecting the outside world and turn everyone into a feared competitor”.
“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.”
But Corbyn said his party wants “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 he will fight for non-tariff trade with the EU, but he did not answer a question on whether Britain would have another referendum if that cannot be achieved.
In his speech Corbyn warned that the “dominant global economic system is broken” and that it has produced a world where “a wealthy few control 90 per cent of global resources, of growing insecurity and grotesque levels of inequality within and between nations”.
Corbyn attacked the governing Conservative Party of Prime Minister Theresa May saying, “Our government has played a central role in enabling the corruption that undermines democracy, and violates human rights.”
“In Africa alone $35 billion is lost each year to tax dodging and 50 billion dollars to illicit financial flows, vastly exceeding the $30 billion that enters the continent of Africa as aid,” said the British opposition leader.
He spoke of two exposes on tax evasion known as the Paradise Papers and Panama Papers, he said these showed that the powerful and super-rich in the “cannot regulate themselves.
Corbyn added that the United Nations has a “pivotal role to play to advance a new consensus, and common ground based on solidarity, respect for human rights, international regulation and cooperation”.