Corbyn Bows to Pressure, Agrees to Back Second Brexit Referendum

Saul Bowman
February 26, 2019

Labour Party said on Monday it would back calls for a second referendum on Brexit if parliament rejects its alternative plan for leaving the European Union.

"That's why we will be putting down an amendment in parliament this week setting out Labour's plan: for a comprehensive customs union with a United Kingdom say; close alignment with the single market; guarantees on rights and standards; protection for Britain's role in EU agencies; and a security agreement which guarantees access to the European arrest warrant and vital shared databases".

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 May's European Union divorce deal.

Corbyn's support for a second referendum does not mean that another public vote will happen.

Corbyn's spokesman said the Labour leader believes May is "recklessly running down the clock" in an attempt to "force MPs to choose between her botched deal and a disastrous no deal".

Labour MP Clive Lewis, who backs the Best for Britain campaign, said: 'With this announcement we're now offering real and unambiguous opposition to Tory Brexit and giving the public the final say on the issue.

But any amendment will struggle to win support in Parliament, as some Labour MPs from Leave-voting areas will likely oppose a re-run of the 2016 referendum.

No date has been set for the next round of votes, but Theresa May has said that she will put her Brexit deal to the vote on 12 March.


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Labour will put forward or support "an amendment in favour of a fresh public vote "to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit" if their own proposed Brexit deal is thrown out of parliament tomorrow (local time), which is nearly certain".

He added: 'We will also be backing the Cooper-Letwin amendment to rule out a No Deal outcome.

Asked yesterday if he was about to join the clamour for a vote, Mr Watson told Marr: 'If Theresa May can't find it within herself to meet our red lines, closer economic union, then obviously our conference policy says that the next stage would be in favour of a people's vote.

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, said: "This is a big step towards uniting our party and, most importantly, our country".

While Labour Party activists have been pushing their leader for months to publicly back another public vote on Brexit, Corbyn has been cold to the idea.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said a second referendum would be "the right decision for London - and for the whole country - to give the public their say for the first time on a final Brexit deal. I think it's going to be deeply divisive", he said.

Britain's Parliament has rejected the deal once, and May has just over a month to get it approved by lawmakers before Britain's scheduled departure day of March 29.

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