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Thu, 16 July 2020

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Independent Group challenges Jeremy Corbyn to back second Brexit referendum bid

Independent Group challenges Jeremy Corbyn to back second Brexit referendum bid
2 min read

The new Independent Group of MPs has challenged Jeremy Corbyn to make good on his pledge to back a second Brexit referendum by backing their attempts to pave the way for a fresh vote.

MPs will take part in a series of fresh Brexit votes on Wednesday evening as the deadlock between the Government and Brexit continues.

The newly-formed breakaway bloc of former Labour and Tory MPs has tabled its own amendment to let the public "take control" with a so-called People's Vote.

Mr Corbyn announced this week that Labour would back moves to secure a second referendum if the Commons does not get behind its own softer Brexit plan.

However, the move has triggered anger from some MPs in leave-supporting seats, as well as members of Mr Corbyn's own Shadow Cabinet.

The Independent Group's Chris Leslie - who was one of eight Labour MPs to quit the party last week - said: "At this eleventh hour, it's vital that preparations take place for a People's Vote.

"This cross-party amendment would require the Prime Minister to take the steps needed so the public could take control and break through the Brexit gridlock."

He added: "There is no more time to waste. With Labour now signalling it may support a confirmatory referendum in the weeks ahead, there is no reason to hold back on vital measures to pave the way.

"If the Labour leadership supports this amendment, we could make real progress on a People's Vote. Now is the time to put the national interest first. Parliament must act now."

The amendment already has the backing of MPs from the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru and could be chosen for a vote by Commons Speaker John Bercow on Wednesday morning.

The move would instruct Theresa May to table a Commons motion before 8 March setting out the "steps necessary" for a public vote on whether to leave on the terms she agreed with the EU or remain inside the bloc.

Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn said: "The Prime Minister's botched deal provides no certainty or guarantees for the future and was comprehensively rejected by this House.

"We cannot risk our country's industry and people's livelihoods and so if it somehow does pass in some form at a later stage, we believe there must be a confirmatory public vote to see if people feel it is what they voted for."

Still wrapping your head around Labour's second Brexit referendum move? We've put together a handy explainer