Following a lengthy discussion on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Ms Ridge asked the Labour leader where he stood on euroscepticism. She highlighted how Jeremy Corbyn had previously voted to leave the European Economic Community, as the EU was formerly known, in 1975 and opposed the creation of the EU in the Maastricht Treaty – which Mr Corbyn clarified as opposition to the central bank and free market. Ms Ridge then asked the Labour leader: “I am interested in your journey – have you changed your mind? Do you consider yourself to be eurosceptic? Where are you at?”
To which Mr Corbyn appeared to dodge the answering as he replied: “I’ve always been in favour of social cooperation across Europe. I’ve always been in favour of workers’ right. I strongly supported the social chapter of the European Union.
“What I opposed was the development of the free market economics in Europe, what I opposed was the state aid rules which limit to differing extents the ability of the government to intervene on its own economy – like what we would want to do to protect the steel industry.
“I also have concerns about some of the EU’s competition rules.”
Ms Ridge then tried again as she pressed: “So would you describe yourself as a eurosceptic?”
Mr Corbyn replied: “I would describe myself as a socialist.”
During the interview, Mr Corbyn was also asked if he would support Remain in a second referendum and he said: “I don’t know how I am going to vote, what the options would be at that time.”
When asked if he could stop Brexit and the Labour leader said: “We couldn’t stop it because we don’t have the votes in Parliament to do so.”
He added: “There was a referendum in 2016, a majority voted to leave the EU, there are many reasons why people voted.
“I don’t think you call a referendum and then say you don’t like the result and go away from it, you’ve got to understand why people voted and negotiate the best deal you can.”
Mr Corbyn also trashed Theresa May’s Brexit deal, saying it was a “one-way agreement” in which the EU “calls all the shots”.
The Labour leader said: “We’ll vote against this deal because it doesn’t meet our tests.
“We don’t believe it serves the interest of this country, therefore the Government have to go back to the EU and renegotiate rapidly.
“There’s 500 pages in this document much of which is quite vague, where’s the guarantee on environmental protections, where’s the guarantee on consumer protections, where’s the guarantee on workers’ rights?”
Mr Corbyn said Labour would focus on negotiating a permanent customs arrangement with the EU, as if this was not agreed the UK would “lose on jobs, lose on investment and we lose on future economic development”.