Furious Labour Remainers turned on Jeremy Corbyn today after his hostility to the EU was laid bare in a newly-unearthed video.
In the extraordinary footage, the veteran left-winger attacks the Brussels club, branding it a ‘European empire of the 21st century’ and a ‘military Frankenstein’.
The film, dating from 2009, was seized on by Mr Corbyn’s own mutinous MPs as evidence that he was always going to ‘facilitate Brexit’. Critics also again questioned whether Mr Corbyn really voted Remain in the 2016 referendum, as he claimed.
Obtained by Left-wing website The Red Roar, the video shows Mr Corbyn mocking the concept of holding repeated votes on the same issue.
He was addressing an audience of Irish activists the year after the country rejected the Lisbon Treaty by 53.4 per cent to 46.6 per cent.
Mr Corbyn warned them that he expected officials to refuse to accept the result – and to keep on fighting against moves to augment the EU’s power.
A video has emerged from 2009 of Jeremy Corbyn branding the EU a ‘European empire of the 21st century’
The film, dating from 2009, was seized on by Mr Corbyn’s own mutinous MPs as evidence that he was always going to ‘facilitate Brexit’
‘Don’t scrap your posters, don’t recycle them, because you’re going to need them for a third referendum,’ Mr Corbyn said.
‘Because I’ve got a feeling they’re going to keep on voting until they get the answer they want.’
His remarks will be seen as explosive when many in his party are pushing for a ‘People’s Vote’ to overturn the result of the referendum in 2016.
In his speech, Mr Corbyn said the Lisbon Treaty made the EU ‘subservient to the wishes of Nato’.
‘We are creating here one massive great Frankenstein which will damage all of us in the long run,’ he said.
‘What it does is create this military machine, this military Frankenstein, which will be so damaging to all of us.’
Mr Corbyn was speaking at a meeting organised by the Irish Anti-War Movement, which has strong links to the Socialist Workers Party in the UK.
In the video clip Mr Corbyn said the Lisbon Treaty made the EU ‘subservient to the wishes of Nato’
‘If you succeed in getting a no vote here that will be such a boost to people like us, all over Europe, who do not want to live in a European empire of the 21st century,’ he said.
‘Now I’m pleased you’re having a referendum, I wish we were having a referendum in Britain.’
Ireland was the only EU nation to put the terms of the Lisbon Treaty to a referendum. The controversial proposals created the first president of Europe and a European foreign minister.
Britain’s right to veto new EU rules in more than 40 policy areas was also removed.
In Ireland, the second referendum was eventually won by the pro-EU campaign, receiving more than two thirds of the vote, after guarantees on Irish sovereignty were negotiated following the narrow defeat in the first vote.
The Labour leader has always claimed to have voted to remain in the 2016 referendum, much to the disbelief of other Labour Leavers.
But Labour MP Owen Smith – who previously tried to oust Mr Corbyn as leader – said of the video: ‘This is why Corbyn was always going to facilitate Brexit if he could: because he’s always believed in escaping the ‘European Empire.’ But he voted ‘Remain’, of course… ‘
A spokeswoman for the Labour leader said: ‘Jeremy’s criticisms of the Lisbon Treaty over a lack of democracy in the EU, its strengthening of neoliberal economic policies and potential military expansion are well known.
‘That’s why he campaigned both to remain and reform in the 2016 EU referendum, so it could live up to the promise of a social Europe.
‘He is clear that a public vote must remain an option on the table to prevent the damage of a No Deal exit from the EU.’
Brexiteer Labour MP Graham Stringer said at the party’s conference last autumn: ‘Jeremy and John [McDonnell] have an instinctive understanding where our core support lies on this.
The video shows Mr Corbyn mocking the concept of holding repeated votes on the same issue (file photo)
‘They voted with Kate [Hoey] and I on many, many occasions on European issues and I think they are in a difficult situation with particular responsibilities as leader and chancellor.’
Labour Remainers hit out at Mr Corbyn last month after they abandoned plans to force a Commons vote on a second referendum.
Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, accused him of ‘facilitating a job-destroying Brexit’ by refusing to back her amendment in the Commons.
But Mr Corbyn responded by saying: ‘I do not want to re-run the 2016 referendum’.
He instead highlighted his own amendment, which allowed a vote on the eventual agreement.
Last year Mr Corbyn caused uproar in the Labour Party by admitting he was unsure how he would vote in any second referendum.
Brexiteer Labour MP Graham Stringer said at the party’s conference last autumn: ‘Jeremy and John [McDonnell] have an instinctive understanding where our core support lies on this [the referendum’
He said: ‘The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted Leave.’
Last month there were claims his party had lost 150,000 members over Mr Corbyn’s refusal to back a second referendum.
But party chiefs dismissed reports its membership had fallen from more than half a million in 2017 to around 385,000 now.
A spokesman refused to disclose the current tally, but said: ‘This story is not true.’
Labour MP David Lammy warned last month of an SDP-style split in the party over Brexit.