Second EU Brexit vote right for Labour, says Owen Smith

Second EU Brexit vote right for Labour, says Owen Smith

The prospect of holding a second vote poses a dilemma for Corbyn; while numerous party's members and supporters fervently back a so-called People's Vote, others simply want Britain to leave the European Union as soon as possible.

Anti-Brexit protesters stage a protest outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

Jeremy Corbyn has edged even closer to backing a second Brexit referendum, telling his MPs he will back a fresh Commons move to "prevent" a damaging Tory exit.

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".


The amendment, put forward by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin, aims to delay the UK's exit date from the European Union by extending Article 50 if a deal is not agreed by Parliament by March 13. Brexit has proved to be such a divisive issue that both mainstream parties have suffered defections, businesses are panicking and voters are confused and exasperated.

It's a major shift for Corbyn and comes after members of his team have been pushing him toward a second referendum.

"But still, the Labour frontbench can't bring itself to do so without pointless, time-wasting conditions".

This move by Labour, which it says is in line with its conference position from previous year, could pave the path toward a second vote on any Brexit deal.


It remains unclear whether there is a majority in parliament in favour of holding another public vote and Labour lawmaker Stephen Kinnock said while he was pleased parliament would get a chance to express its view, he also had concerns.

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. In January, he said Brexiteers should be prepared to have to fight the 2016 referendum all over again, remarking: "When I've talked in the past about being anxious that they may force us into a second referendum..."

A repeat of the referendum is only likely to happen if a significant number of Tories back one.

May has repeatedly argued against a repeat of the 2016 referendum, saying that it would undermine faith in democracy, and any change of position would outrage her torn party.


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