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8 August 2016

Owen Smith to promise “new industrial revolution“ and vote on Brexit

The Labour leadership challenger is expected to criticise economic policy since the 1980s.

By Julia Rampen

British voters must have a chance to prevent the country becoming “the sick man leaving Europe”, Labour challenger Owen Smith is to declare.

Speaking in Newcastle, Smith is expected to warn that the economy is “on a cliff edge” and call for Brits to get a chance to vote on the Brexit deal. 

He is to promise “a new industrial revolution” which could “make Britain the workshop of the world once more”.

Smith, who is positioning himself on the left in a bid to outflank his rival Jeremy Corbyn, will criticise the economic consensus since the 1980s.

He will argue governments have allowed financial services to flourish at the expense of manufacturing, and there has been too much complacency about low-paid jobs. 

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And he will link the economic future directly to Brexit. He is expected to warn a deal could hand “a blank cheque” to Tory right-wingers keen to reduce workers’ rights and environmental protections.

He is to say: “I will not allow the UK to fall coughing and spluttering out of the EU door. I am resolute that the British people must be offered an opportunity to sign-off the terms of a Tory deal on Europe.”