Corbyn Decries 'Sideshow' as Cameron Announces Brexit Referendum

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday announced a June 23 referendum on the question of Britain leaving or staying in the European Union. (Photo: Number 10/flickr/cc)

Corbyn Decries 'Sideshow' as Cameron Announces Brexit Referendum

Prime Minister sets referendum for June 23 to determine Britain's fate in European Union

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday announced a June 23 referendum over whether Britain will stay in the European Union (EU), following days of talks with EU leaders over Britain's relationship with Brussels.

The vote could have far-reaching consequences for the country and the EU as a whole. Cameron's cabinet formally said it would campaign to stay in the EU, but several ministers of parliament, including Cameron's close ally, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, openly advocated for a "Brexit." Gove said the EU was encouraging extremism in Europe and posed with five other party members at the Vote Leave headquarters with a signed banner that read, "Let's take back control."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the deal Cameron negotiated in Brussels a "sideshow," accusing the prime minister of focusing more on appeasing his opponents than fighting for voters' interests, and said Labour would be campaigning to stay in the EU.

The deal, finalized late Friday night, gives Britain power to limit benefits to migrants entering the EU and allows the country to opt out of a historic EU pledge to create an "ever closer union among the peoples of Europe."

The changes Cameron negotiated "are largely irrelevant to the problems most British people face and the decision we must now make," Corbyn said in a statement. "Labour believes the EU is a vital framework for European trade and cooperation in the 21st century, and that a vote to remain in Europe is in the best interests of our people."

"We will be campaigning to keep Britain in Europe in the coming referendum, regardless of David Cameron's tinkering, because it brings investment, jobs and protection for British workers and consumers," Corbyn said.

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