Owen Smith BLASTS Corbyn Over “Mistake” To Sack Anti-Brexit Frontbencher
Owen Smith has described Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to sack him over his anti-Brexit stance as a “mistake” which goes against the Labour leader’s principles.
Writing for the Guardian last Friday, Owen said: “I’m pleased my party has taken a big step in this direction by backing continued customs union membership, but we need to go further.
“Labour needs to do more than just back a soft Brexit or guarantee a soft border in Ireland.
“Given that it is increasingly obvious that the promises the Brexiters made to the voters – especially, but not only, their pledge of an additional £350m a week for the NHS – are never going to be honoured, we have the right to keep asking if Brexit remains the right choice for the country.”
As a result of the comments in the Guardian, Mr Corbyn sacked the former Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, sparking strong divisions in the shadow cabinet who are increasingly disagreeing over Brexit.
Hitting out at the decision, Smith said: “It’s the biggest economic crisis that our country will have faced for many, many generations, and I think there is a danger that we sleepwalk towards effectively supporting a soft Brexit outcome that we know is going to be damaging to our economy.
“It’s the first instance I can think of in living memory when a government is pursuing a policy that they know is going to make our economy smaller and reduce people’s livelihoods and life chances, and I cannot understand why we in Labour would support that.”
Later hitting out at Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott for supporting Corbyn’s decision, he said: “It’s interesting to have Diane Abbott defending the decision. She said something very similar just a couple of months ago and she hasn’t been sacked.
“For Jeremy Corbyn in particular, who’s always understood the value of people standing by their principles.
“It’s the position that he’s often adopted, and it’s certainly a value in him that others have extolled and, in truth, I think that’s all I’ve done.
“I’ve stood by my principles on what I think is the most important economic and security issue facing our country for generations.
“Labour needs to shift its position and that’s what I was trying to achieve.”