Labour’s candidate for Rayleigh and Wickford David Flack denied Labour’s Brexit policy was in any way confusing.
Mr Flack, a retired headteacher and former Essex County Councillor, said: “Labour’s policy is and has been quite clear.
“Firstly, we are a democratic socialist Party and following the 2016 referendum the party supported the people’s decision to enact article 50.
“Labour through our Parliamentary team set out the six tests for supporting any withdrawal bill.”
However, Mr Flack added: “Theresa May refused to negotiate a consensus deal with Labour and adopted a hard right approach to the negotiations with the EU in an attempt to persuade the ERG extremists (in Philip Hammond’s words) and the DUP to support her in a polarisation between the Conservative and the rest of Parliament and the devolved Parliaments of the UK.”
Mr Johnson, whom Mr Flack branded “amoral and bombastic” had “betrayed the DUP” with a slightly modified May deal which “created a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in the Irish Sea”, he added.
He said: “Labour has been entirely consistent in its approach throughout whilst the Tory Party has lurched sharply towards the ERG extremists like Mark Francois (my opponent in this constituency) and weakening its remain wing by expelling 21 Tory MPs.”
Mr Flack, who voted Remain three years ago, said he fully supported Labour’s policy of negotiating a better deal and then putting it back to the people against remain, adding: “How could I possibly say whether I would support leave with a new negotiated Labour deal or remain when that deal has not yet been negotiated with the EU? Like Mr Corbyn I reserve my judgement until the full facts are known.”
“This election should not be just about Brexit. We do not support the Lib Dems and their opportunistic attempts to gain electoral advantage and I am surprised that the Greens have fallen into coalition with a party that co-authored ‘Austerity’ with the Conservatives.
“Labour is the only clear Party to challenge the majority of Mark Francois in this constituency.”
With respect to the NHS, Mr Flack said in 1988 he had campaigned to prevent the closure of the cancer unit at Southend General Hospital, forcing then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to retain a number of Cancer units nationwide.
He added: “Among the many important facts in that campaign was the argument that Southend General would find it very difficult to retain and recruit medical staff if the full range of services were not retained.
“I mention this because the government is forcing Southend, Basildon and Broomfield (in North Chelmsford) to each cut services on their sites and combine them into single facilities in one of each of the hospitals.
“The effect of this is to reduce the range of specialisms on each of the hospital sites, thereby making it much more difficult to recruit first class staff.”