By Barry Lord @bazneto
The British in Ireland are being urged to vote on Brexit as Jeremy Corbyn claimed it would be more ‘Socialist’ to stay in the EU.
The Labour leader – hitherto a Eurosceptic in his early political career – used a speech at Senate House in London to wade into the debate and insisted his party was strongly in favour of Britain remaining part of the EU.
And while he did not “recant on everything I’ve ever said and done” on the EU issue – in fact, only last year he refused to rule out backing an EU exit – he expressed a determination to fight for the chance to change it from within.
“The case I’m making is for remain and reform,” said Corbyn.
Britain will be stronger if we cooperate with our neighbours… Europe needs to change but that change can only come from working with our allies in the European Union to achieve it, he said.
While the 66-year-old reserved criticism for what he perceived as “shortcomings” within the EU framework, he enforced the belief that to make strides in key areas such as migration, there must be a constructive dialogue across the board.
Corbyn said he did not believe “too many” EU nationals had come to live and work in Britain – and insisted that higher wages rather than curbs on free movement were the key to immigration questions.
“I don’t think too many have come. I think the issue has to be of wages and regulations,” he said.
“There has to be a case for a minimum wage tied to the cost of living all across the continent.”
The hope now is that these comments will resonate with UK voters based in Ireland, offering some much needed food for thought before voting on what the British Ambassador to Ireland, Dominick Chilcott, described as “maybe the biggest issue for a generation.”
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr. Chilcott said the referendum will really have an impact on Ireland’s “nearest neighbour”.
He said only 100,000 of the 5.5 million Britons living abroad voted in the last referendum.
Mr Chilcott said the British government position is clearly to stay in the EU for economic prosperity and security reasons.
He added that there is a “high degree of risk and uncertainty” about what rights British nationals living in EU countries would have in the event of a vote to leave.
The 2011 Census of Ireland shows 288,627 people listed the UK as their place of birth.
Voting will take place on Thursday June 23rd.
Overall, there are 5.5 million UK citizens estimated to be living overseas and potentially eligible to vote in the referendum