Brexit takes center stage in race to 10 Downing Street

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-02 06:12:08|Editor: Liu
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LONDON, June 1 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May and her main rival, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, focused on Brexit Thursday as campaigning for Britain's general election entered its final seven days.

Both gave keynote speeches saying how they would approach Britain's departure from the European Union.

May's message that no Brexit deal is better than a bad deal, earned a response from Corbyn saying: "no deal is a bad deal."

With one of the latest opinion polls giving May's Conservative Party a narrow three-point lead over Labour, Corbyn's party is now scenting it is within grasp of beating May in next Thursday's general election.

In what will be seen as a major blow for the Conservatives, the London Evening Standard said Thursday night that in a shock surge, Corbyn was now more popular in London than May.

The newspaper, edited by former Chancellor George Osborne, the politician fired by May last year, said for the first time, more voters in the capital say they think the Labour leader would make a better Prime Minister than May.

It said the Conservative's hopes of gaining seats in London have been dashed by a huge 17-point lead opening up for Labour,and instead May's party could lose seats.

At her election rally in Middlesborough in north east England, May was asked how the lead if 24 points she had at the start of the campaign was now down to just three points in one poll.

Corbyn, meanwhile, was asked a similar question, with both declining to speculate on numbers by pollsters, saying the June 8 poll was the one that mattered.

In her speech May set out her vision of Brexit as part of a great national mission to build a "stronger, fairer and more prosperous Britain," insisting that vision could only be delivered if voters backed her in the June 8 vote.

"If they do, I am confident that we can fulfil the promise of Brexit together and build a Britain that is stronger, fairer and even more prosperous than it is today. I will work every day to make a success of Brexit, and will strive to be a leader worthy of a Great Britain," she said.

May repeated her promise to respect the decision of the British people who voted a year ago in a national referendum to leave the EU. Labour's Corbyn saying he was "simply not up to the job".

May, spelling out what the dire consequences of getting Brexit negotiations wrong, said there are people elsewhere in the EU who want to punish the UK and those who are willing to sign up to a deal whatever the price of that deal.

"They would end up with the worst possible deal at the highest possible price," she said, In a second speech, also in northern England, May Theresa May told supporters that is she loses lose just six seats her government would lose its majority.

In his keynote speech in Basildon, Corbyn the British people have a choice in the election over which team they trust to lead the difficult negotiations ahead.

"We will confirm to the other member states that Britain is leaving the European Union. But, instead of posturing threats and pumped up animosity, a Labour Government under my leadership, will set out a plan for Brexit based on the mutual interests of both Britain and the EU."

He said Labour will give a clear commitment to the 3 million EU nationals living and working in Britain that they can stay. He added that Britain also needs tariff-free access to European markets.

Corbyn said May's "no deal is better than a bad deal" would be a disaster for British industry and cause a jobs meltdown.