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Jeremy Corbyn's abdication of leadership

When Irish observers consider how the leaders of the three main British parties have approached the crucial Brexit question during the Westminster election campaign, they can only be deeply alarmed.

It is obvious that that Boris Johnson has been full of misleading bluster over the issue, to the extent that audiences during televised debates have burst out laughing when he has attempted to stress the importance of honesty in public life.

Mr Johnson's deviousness before the 2016 EU referendum has been well documented and it was embarrassingly clear earlier this month, when he contradicted the position of his own Brexit secretary on the protocols to be followed when Northern Ireland businesses send goods to Britain, that there are huge gaps in his basic knowledge of the trade proposals which he negotiated.

However, there will be no surprise over his performance as Mr Johnson has always viewed Brexit as his golden opportunity to achieve and retain power rather than as a point of principle in any form.

Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats has consistently backed the Remain side but her attempts to explain her strategy during an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time programme last week were a dismal failure.

Her claim that her party, which won 12 seats in the last general election, was somehow capable of jumping to a total of over 300 MPs in the next House of Commons, allowing her to become prime minister, revoke Article 50 without a second referendum and stay in the EU was greeted with widespread derision.

Ms Swinson did not come across as a serious figure, and her party’s ratings in a series of opinion polls have subsequently tumbled.

Perhaps the most perplexing contribution came from Jeremy Corbyn, who said that, as prime minister, he would prepare a new withdrawal deal involving a second referendum during which he would astonishingly take a neutral stance.

Mr Corbyn has always presented himself as a conviction politician who was ready to take a firm stand over a range of causes but, on Brexit, has instead offered a complete abdication of leadership.

These are turbulent times and the response from voters in Northern Ireland who understand the scale of the dangers facing all sections of society here should be to endorse pro-Remain candidates on December 12.

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