ECR leader Syed Kamall told express.co.uk the Labour leader is “helping the EU, not the UK” with his ill-thought out trip to meet the bloc’s chief negotiator.
He said eurocrats are using him to sow discord and “muddy the waters” over Brexit, allowing them to claim that they do not know what Britain really wants from the negotiations.
Mr Corbyn is in Brussels for his own talks with EU officials today just as a crunch European Council summit gets under way at which leaders are set to discuss the progress of the divorce talks.
Earlier today he spoke to a pre-EU summit meeting of the Party of European Socialists (PES) at which he said the British Labour Party “does not see anyone in Europe as our enemies”.
The Labour leader has met Frenchman Mr Barnier before, famously giving him an Arsenal football shirt, and has been accused of over meddling with his claims that he is ready to “lead the negotiations” in place of Theresa May.
Asked about his visit, Mr Kamall said: “First of all we don’t know what Corbyn’s position is from one week to the next. One week he’s in the Single Market the next week he’s not in the Single Market.
One week the Labour MEPs are voting to not progress the trade talks, then you’ve got Keir Starmer saying we want to move onto trade talks, so I’m not clear what the Labour Party position is.”
Labour have been accused of flip-flopping on Brexit – and particularly the tricky issue of whether or not Britain should stay in the Single Market – adopting an array of confusing and conflicting positions.
But Mr Kamall said that aside from incompetence this bumbling uncertainty has had a more sinister side effect, allowing EU leaders to use the Labour Party as a bargaining tool in the negotiations.
He said: “When I talk to my colleagues here from other countries about the negotiations, they say it actually helps them to have people in the UK who kind of muddy the waters for them.
“Barnier is very clever. He will use Corbyn, he’ll weaponise Corbyn. He’ll use him for his own ends to help the EU side of the negotiations. One of the negotiating tactics is the ability to be able to walk away from a deal.
“When you’ve got one side saying actually we’re not prepared to walk away, the EU will say we’ve got a stronger negotiating tactic. There’s lots of pressure in the UK now for May to walk away at some stage if we don’t get a deal.”
He warned: “But if there are people who are saying no no whatever happens don’t walk away, what we’re effectively saying is that we’re prepared to accept a bad deal over no deal and that can only help the EU. Jeremy Corbyn coming here and effectively saying that helps the EU not the UK.”
EU leaders are tomorrow expected to conclude that there has been no “sufficient progress” in the Brexit talks to date, but they will also offer the UK an olive branch by saying they are optimistic of a breakthrough in December.
In a stridently left-wing speech that was watched by socialist leader Gianni Pittella, Mr Corbyn today described the current economic model as “broken” and railed against what he sees as neoliberal “elites”.
He said: “The neoliberal economic model is broken. It doesn’t work for most people. Inequality and low taxes for the richest are hurting our people and harming the economy as even the IMF now acknowledges.”