Peo­ple’s Vote ‘no Brexit be­trayal’

The Herald - - POLITICS - ALIS­TAIR GRANT PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

JOHN Mcdon­nell has in­sisted a sec­ond Brexit ref­er­en­dum would not be a be­trayal of vot­ers as he con­firmed Labour will back a Peo­ple’s Vote “if we get to a sit­u­a­tion where we’ve tried ev­ery­thing”.

The shadow chan­cel­lor re­jected warn­ings from Len Mccluskey, the in­flu­en­tial leader of the Unite union, that a fresh poll risked sell­ing out vot­ers – and said he would vote Re­main if an­other ref­er­en­dum was held.

Mr Mcdon­nell said Labour would push for its own Brexit pro­pos­als, be­fore at­tempt­ing to force a gen­eral elec­tion if these were re­jected.

If that failed, he said his party would move to­wards other op­tions – in­clud­ing a pub­lic vote.

He said it was “in­evitable” an­other ref­er­en­dum would in­clude an op­tion to stay in the EU.

But asked how Labour would cam­paign on a sec­ond vote, he said: “We’ll dis­cuss that as we get near.”

De­spite Brus­sels re­peat­edly say­ing it won’t re­open talks, Mr Mcdon­nell said the EU would rene­go­ti­ate a Brexit deal with Labour if

Theresa May’s pro­posal is re­jected on Tues­day.

He made the com­ments in Glas­gow as he be­gan a two-day visit to Scot­land.

Asked if he agreed with Mr Mccluskey, he said: “No, I think if we get to a sit­u­a­tion where we’ve tried ev­ery­thing…

“We’re do­ing our best – if you watch the tone of the in­ter­ven­tions yesterday and my speech yesterday it was a sin­cere at­tempt to try and bring all par­ties to­gether to try and agree a Brexit which would pro­tect jobs and the econ­omy.

“If we can’t get that, we need a gen­eral elec­tion be­cause we can then change the team that will then do the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“If we can’t get that, well I think peo­ple will recog­nise we will have no other op­tion but to con­sider an­other pub­lic vote. And peo­ple will re­spect us for do­ing our best to im­ple­ment the spirit of the ref­er­en­dum it­self. We’ve got to re­solve this is­sue. We can’t go on like this.”

It comes af­ter Mr Mccluskey re­port­edly warned Labour MPS against back­ing a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum. Mr Mcdon­nell said Labour wanted a per­ma­nent cus­toms union and a “close and col­lab­o­ra­tive” re­la­tion­ship with the sin­gle mar­ket.

He ar­gued Theresa May’s deal was “badly ne­go­ti­ated” and would not be voted through, and in­sisted there was still time for his party to se­cure a bet­ter agree­ment.

Else­where, he said he fully sup­ported Scot­tish Labour plans to hike taxes, de­spite back­ing cuts else­where in the UK.

Mr Mcdon­nell faced a back­lash from within his own party af­ter say­ing he would not re­verse Tory tax cuts for higher earn­ers.

Ad­dress­ing the is­sue yesterday, Mr Mcdon­nell said: “[Scot­tish Labour leader] Richard Leonard is de­vel­op­ing a rad­i­cal pro­gramme which would re­quire the fund­ing that he’s iden­ti­fied and a fair tax­a­tion sys­tem.

“I fully sup­port that ap­proach, of course I do. That’s what de­vo­lu­tion is all about — it’s about peo­ple mak­ing their own de­ci­sions within their own area.”

But Labour’s po­si­tion on a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum has again been thrown into con­fu­sion ahead of the shadow chan­cel­lor’s visit north of the Border.

Scot­tish leader Richard Leonard pre­vi­ously in­sisted Labour would “cat­e­gor­i­cally” state its op­po­si­tion to an­other vote ahead of any gen­eral elec­tion.

But this was later un­der­mined by Mr Mcdon­nell, who said a Labour Gov­ern­ment would “con­sider what­ever pro­pos­als come from Scot­land”.

Mr Leonard has now stressed he will “fight with ev­ery sinew” in his body to make sure an­other ref­er­en­dum is ruled out in the party’s next man­i­festo.

„ Shadow Chan­cel­lor John Mcdon­nell is on a two-day trip to Scot­land and met the me­dia.

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