General election 2019: Corbyn clarifies Brexit stance on Question Time

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has defended his Brexit stance, economic policies and handling of anti-Semitism as he took part in a BBC Question Time leaders’ special.

He said he would “remain neutral” in the Brexit referendum planned by Labour and not campaign for Leave or Remain.

He said this would allow him to “credibly” carry out the decision of the British people as prime minister.

Nicola Sturgeon is now being questioned by the studio audience, with Jo Swinson and Boris Johnson to follow.

The four party leaders are all facing 30 minutes of questions in the event in Sheffield, hosted by Fiona Bruce.

The first to take the stage, Mr Corbyn faced hostile questioning about his economic polices, with one member of the audience suggesting his “reckless socialist” agenda “terrified” him and his family.

Mr Corbyn said his plans to take Royal Mail, the railways, the water industry and broadband delivery into public ownership had been “set out” very clearly and were aimed at “delivering an economy that works for all”.

He insisted business had “nothing to be frightened of” by his plans.

Image caption

The Question Time set is being prepared ahead of the programme

He said his “fully prepared and costed manifesto” would bring the country together and help reduce inequality.

On Brexit, he said it was “entirely reasonable” to put the question back to the people and he would “abide” by whatever the result was.

Asked why he had previously been unwilling to say which side he would back, he said he would “remain neutral”, telling the audience: “You heard it here first on Question Time”.

When questioned on the issue of tackling incidents of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, he insisted that all forms of racism and misogyny were “unacceptable” and said that party activists who had abused MPs had been disciplined or expelled.

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Media captionQuestion Time Leaders Special: Behind the scenes with Fiona Bruce

There have already been separate Question Time specials with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley.

The first live TV debate between the prime minister and Labour leader took place on ITV earlier this week.

The BBC will also host a live head-to-head debate between the Conservative and Labour leaders on 6 December, plus a seven-way podium debate between senior figures from the UK’s major political parties on 29 November, live from Cardiff.

Channel 4 News will also host a debate focusing solely on climate change. Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Green Party have all agreed to take part, but the Conservatives not yet said whether they will attend. A date has not yet been announced for this debate.

The Question Time Leaders’ Special comes after Labour and the Liberal Democrats released their election manifestos this week. The Conservatives are expected to launch their manifesto on Sunday, with the SNP set to announce its policy pledges next week.

Watch the BBC Question Time leaders’ special


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