Corbyn ‘avoided EU campaign after Better Together backlash’

Jeremy Corbyn is said to have 'learnt the lesson' of Labour's participation in the Better Together campaign. Picture: PA
Jeremy Corbyn is said to have 'learnt the lesson' of Labour's participation in the Better Together campaign. Picture: PA
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Jeremy Corbyn stayed away from the cross-party Remain campaign during the EU referendum over fears of the same backlash suffered by Labour in Scotland after the Scottish independence referendum.

Allies of the Labour leader told a BBC Radio 4 documentary Mr Corbyn refused to share a platform with David Cameron because he had “learnt the lesson” of Labour’s participation in the Better Together campaign alongside the Tories.

Alistair Darling pictured with Better Together campaigners during the 2014 campaign. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Alistair Darling pictured with Better Together campaigners during the 2014 campaign. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

In the programme, Labour MP Diane Abbott said of the cross-party Britain Stronger in Europe campaign: “I think we did work closely with them, but one of the points at issue was whether Jeremy would go on a platform with David Cameron, and we felt we’d learnt the lesson from Scotland, where nothing antagonised Labour voters more than the sight of leading Labour figures on the same platform as Tories.

“That was something we did seek to avoid.”

Mr Corbyn was criticised for a perceived lack of effort in the referendum campaign, sparking a rebellion by Labour MPs and a leadership challenge.

The programme also quotes Remain executive director Will Straw, who says calls for the pro-EU campaign to tackle immigration head-on were dismissed because UK Government figures believed the Scottish referendum was won by focusing solely on potential economic risks.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron, ex-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Mr Corbyn's predecessor Ed Miliband campaigned together in support of the Union. Picture: PA

Former Prime Minister David Cameron, ex-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Mr Corbyn's predecessor Ed Miliband campaigned together in support of the Union. Picture: PA