EU Referendum

Farron warns Corbyn not to jeopardise EU Remain campaign

Tim Farron Image copyright PA

Jeremy Corbyn should not allow "internal party chaos" to jeopardise the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union, the leader of the Liberal Democrats has said.

Tim Farron said the Labour leader was "blinkered" to the risk of an exit in the 23 June referendum.

Mr Corbyn was forced to defend himself after criticism he was not making a more "passionate" case to Remain.

Mr Farron urged unhappy Labour members to switch to his "united force".

At the Lib Dems' spring conference in York, he said: "Jeremy Corbyn, please do not let your own internal party chaos get in the way of winning this campaign.

"I know you may have wanted to leave in the past, but we treat your conversion as genuine and so I ask you to show the zeal of the convert and get on board."

He added: "If your party leadership remains blinkered to the risk, then your party is sleepwalking to the exit. So, come with us, share a platform, and let's make the positive, unified case that we all believe in."

Mr Corbyn, a longstanding critic of the EU, has defended Labour's campaigning on the referendum, saying his party is pushing for "a social Europe".

Speaking on a visit to Dagenham on Tuesday, the Labour leader said there were issues on which the EU should be challenged, but "at the moment we're campaigning because we want this sense of unity across Europe".

His spokesman added he would be making a "big" speech on the EU "in due course".

'Unpleasant campaigning'

Mr Farron also attacked Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith for "appalling" claims last month that staying in the EU would leave the country vulnerable to a Paris-style terrorism attack.

"Some of the rhetoric in the campaign recently has been unpleasant, to put it mildly," Mr Farron told a rally of party activists.

"People on both sides have tried to scaremonger about borders, refugees and migrants. Using desperate people fleeing war and terror as pawns to score points is appalling and it is weak.

"This campaign needs the opposite. This campaign needs strength and compassion."

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