Jeremy Corbyn has accused David Cameron of "botching" his ongoing renegotiation with Brussels, ahead of the forthcoming EU referendum. The Labour leader, who met with European top brass in December, claimed the politicians told him that the British prime minister had failed to convince them about his range of proposed reforms.
"Last month I travelled to Brussels myself to meet European leaders, including prime ministers, to discuss the issues our prime minister has raised today. I learnt a lot in that meeting," Corbyn said.
"I learnt that the prime minister has botched his negotiations with European leaders, I also learnt that many of our European colleagues have a very intuitive understanding of British politics.
"They know the prime minister has asked for help so that he can win a referendum he never wanted to hold. Does the prime minister now accept that his attempt to bludgeon leaders into accepting flawed reforms has failed?"
Corbyn also cited research from think-tank British Future, which claimed Cameron's proposal to stop EU migrants in the UK from accessing benefits for at least four years would be "ineffective".
The comments come after Cameron officially announced that his ministers would be given a free vote on the EU referendum ballot, which will be held before the end of 2017. The move means top Eurosceptic Tories like Iain Duncan Smith have the opportunity to campaign for a Brexit, once the prime minister's renegotiation deal is done, without being sacked from the government.
The prime minister hit back at Corbyn by describing his ongoing mix-up of Labour's top team as the "longest [shadow cabinet] reshuffle in history". The prime minister quipped: "You could have watched the entire run of Star Wars movies, but we still yet don't know who's been seduced to the Dark Side. There's absolutely no sign of a Rebel Alliance emerging, I can see that."
Michael Dugher, the former shadow sports and culture secretary, is currently the only casualty of Corbyn's so-called "revenge reshuffle". The Barnsley East MP, who backed Andy Burnham in Labour's leadership contest in 2015, claimed Corbyn axed him because he spoke his mind and he was "too straight-talking" for the left-winger.