Di­vided Labour at war as pres­sure rises for 2nd poll

Daily Mail - - Brexit In Crisis - By Daniel Martin Pol­icy Editor

Labour was split over brexit last night after Emily Thorn­berry con­tra­dicted her leader by de­mand­ing a se­cond ref­er­en­dum on any deal.

Jeremy Cor­byn’s spokesman said yes­ter­day that while he had called for a pub­lic vote on Theresa May’s deal, he would not coun­te­nance one on any deal he put his name to.

The Labour leader yes­ter­day held talks with the Prime Min­is­ter to thrash out a jointly agreed deal to put to Par­lia­ment. Mr Cor­byn said he had raised the is­sue of a se­cond ref­er­en­dum, but made clear he was not in favour of one in all cir­cum­stances.

but in an ex­plo­sive in­ter­ven­tion, his Shadow For­eign Sec­re­tary wrote to all Labour MPs de­mand­ing a bal­lot on what­ever deal emerges. Miss Thorn­berry wrote: ‘any deal agreed by Par­lia­ment must be sub­ject to a con­fir­ma­tory pub­lic vote, and yes, the other op­tion on the bal­lot must be re­main.’

Mr Cor­byn also faced pres­sure on a se­cond ref­er­en­dum from the unions. uni­son gen­eral sec­re­tary Dave Pren­tis said: ‘What­ever deal emerges in the com­ing days should be put to the coun­try. We can­not al­low the uK’s future to be dashed on the rocks of a No Deal brexit.’

The Shadow Cab­i­net is deeply split on the is­sue of a se­cond vote.

brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer, deputy leader Tom Wat­son, Shadow Home Sec­re­tary Diane ab­bott and Miss Thorn­berry are strongly in favour of an­other bal­lot. but busi­ness spokes man re­becca Long-bai­ley, ed­u­ca­tion spokesman an­gela rayner and party chair­man Ian Lav­ery are against.

Mrs Long-bai­ley, a Cor­byn ally, said she be­lieved Labour was un­likely to sup­port a pub­lic vote on a deal to which the party had agreed. She said: ‘If we get ex­actly what we want – a good strong deal – then I would strug­gle to find a rea­son to put that to a pub­lic vote.’

Labour MP Mar­garet beck­ett de­manded that Mr Cor­byn push for a se­cond ref­er­en­dum.

‘Theresa May is putting my party and its leader, Jeremy Cor­byn, in what is po­ten­tially a very pow­er­ful po­si­tion,’ she said. ‘If any new pro­posal is to com­mand the sup­port of the Labour Party – whose vot­ers, mem­bers and MPs want the pub­lic to have the fi­nal say – if it is to se­cure a sta­ble ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment and if it is to gain the con­fi­dence of the coun­try, it can­not, must not, and will not pre­clude the idea that any brexit deal is put to the peo­ple.’

For­mer lead­er­ship can­di­date owen Smith said he would back a Tory/Labour deal only if it se­cured a se­cond ref­er­en­dum. Labour MP Wes Street­ing said: ‘In­volv­ing the pub­lic may be a way of heal­ing our deeply di­vided coun­try.’

Lib Dem leader Vince Ca­ble, Plaid Cymru leader Liz Sav­ille roberts, SNP West­min­ster leader Ian black­ford, In­de­pen­dent Group MP Chuka umunna and Green MP Caro­line Lu­cas put out a state­ment de­mand­ing a se­cond vote. Se­nior for­mer civil ser­vants also backed a se­cond ref­er­en­dum. Lord o’Don­nell,

the for­mer Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary, said: ‘The way to get clar­ity and clo­sure on Europe is to let the peo­ple de­cide on whether to go ahead with the best avail­able Brexit deal – or de­cide to stay in the EU.’

Brexit Sec­re­tary Stephen Bar­clay said it would take a year to leg­is­late for a fresh pub­lic vote, adding: ‘You have got to pass the pri­mary leg­is­la­tion, you have got to re­solve the is­sues with the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion, you have got to have the pur­dah pe­riod in the runup to any ref­er­en­dum.’

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