Thursday, 18 April, 2019

DEBATE: Is Labour's support for second referendum a good political move?

Jeremy Corbyn To Back Second Brexit Referendum In New Commons Bid To Prevent ‘Damaging’ Tory Corbyn prepares to cut Gordian knot of #Brexit impasse
Leonard Rios | 02 March, 2019, 06:42

The House of Commons rejected Mrs May's deal with the European Union by a huge margin last month - largely over concerns about a provision to guarantee an open border between the UK's Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland - and sent Mrs May back to Brussels to get changes. Apparently, seeking to satisfy all sides, the party has insisted that alongside pushing for a second referendum, it will also continue to push for its vision of Brexit as well as a general election.

After the result in the Commons, shadow Brexit spokesman Matthew Pennycook appeared to suggest the party is ready to act, tweeting it is "now time to wholeheartedly get behind efforts to facilitate a new public vote that includes the option of staying in the EU".

Labour has said if it can't get its plan through Parliament, it will campaign for a second referendum on Britain's European Union membership. It remains to be seen if Labour support of a vote (a position endorsed by all the opposition parties) would be enough to obtain a majority for it in parliament.

Responding to Mr Leonard's comments, SNP MSP George Adam said: "Richard Leonard has today confirmed that Scottish Labour is pro-Brexit - something that will utterly dismay many of its own supporters".

Mr Corbyn confirmed he was not yet ready to fully abandon Labour's Brexit plan in favour of a second referendum.

But he added: "We are still going to argue that we want a general election, we are still going to argue we think our deal that we have put up was the best option".

Former shadow cabinet minister Caroline Flint warned that a second referendum would be opposed by a number of Labour MPs, as well as members and voters. The local MP is Tulip Siddiq, but she is on maternity leave and was not present at the meeting.

"Labour is determined to put forward its own Brexit proposals to the House of Commons following on from the "meaningful vote" that has been promised on 12 March".

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"In the key votes ahead of us we must extend Article 50 to take a catastrophic no-deal off the table and use that time to put this decision back to the people to decide if they back the government's botched Brexit deal or staying in our current European Union deal".

Richard Leonard insisted his party's focus was on persuading Theresa May to soften the terms of her Brexit agreement with Brussels, rather than forcing another public vote.

The Brexit deadline draws ever-closer and according to the latest developments, a second referendum is looking like a distinct possibility.

Just 204 of the party's 313 MPs who were eligible to vote backed the measure.

The deputy head of British Labour Party, Tom Watson, sits in the audience ahead of the Labour leadership announcement at a party conference in Liverpool on September 24, 2016.

It came as MPs voted to endorse Theresa May's Brexit strategy - but only after she made a series of concessions. All other Liberal Democrat MPs abstained.

"My amendment does not deal in goods or services, backstops or borders, but people, living and breathing, skin and bone", said its author, Conservative MP Alberto Costa. Mrs May's motion was then agreed as amended unopposed. While primary legislation of this sort can be rushed through quickly in principle, the government cannot rule out a significant number of amendments being tabled that could still make the now scheduled March 29 departure date unattainable.

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