Labour Party Leader Calls For 'Public Vote' on Brexit

Labour Party Leader Calls For 'Public Vote' on Brexit

Kerry Wise
February 26, 2019

Asked if Jeremy Corbyn would also campaign for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union, she said: "If it's a choice between a disastrous Tory Brexit or no deal and remaining, then that is what we will have to do".

The party has previously said it would support a referendum as a last resort if it could not secure a new election or make changes to Prime Minister Theresa May's European Union divorce deal.

Corbyn is expected to tell a meeting of Labour MPs that "we are committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory (Conservative) Brexit being forced on the country".

Theresa May is under growing pressure to delay the 29 March Brexit date, amid fears the United Kingdom will crash out of the European Union without a deal.

At the weekend, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Business Secretary Greg Clark, and Justice Secretary David Gauke threatened to back an amendment put forward by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory Oliver Letwin, which seeks to block a no-deal through legislation if there no Brexit agreement in place by 13 March - a day after Mrs May's deadline for a "meaningful vote". The one caveat: Labour isn't saying precisely what the second referendum would stipulate, notes the BBC.

The referendum move comes after Labour lost eight MPs last week and will please the party's anti-Brexit MPs and its largely pro-EU membership.

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Labour is in talks with backbench MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson over an amendment they are proposing that would approve Mrs May's deal, but put it to a public vote.

Insiders told HuffPost UK that the announcement was a "shift" because it would be the first time that Labour committed to actively supporting a second referendum if its own alternative Brexit plans failed to get approved in the Commons this week.

After a meeting with members of his shadow Cabinet on Monday afternoon, the Labour leader finally gave way.

Labour backbencher David Lammy, who supports the People's Vote campaign, was pleased by the decision.

He said: "In Parliament I think what's happening is there's [an] increasingly large number of people who will consider now moving towards a public vote situation to block a no deal and to block a bad deal, that Theresa May's deal is".

The essence of their amendment is that Labour would allow Theresa May's Brexit deal to pass the Commons in return for it being subject to approval via a second referendum.