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Tue, 27 October 2020

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Jeremy Corbyn faces crunch Labour Brexit meeting as second referendum pressure mounts

Jeremy Corbyn faces crunch Labour Brexit meeting as second referendum pressure mounts
2 min read

Jeremy Corbyn will face a crunch meeting of the Shadow Cabinet on Wednesday amid mounting pressure to throw the party's weight fully behind a second referendum on Brexit.


The Labour leader has faced growing calls to endorse a fresh referendum on any deal struck with the EU after a disastrous showing at the European elections saw the party slump behind the Brexit Party and the pro-Remain Liberal Democrats.

The party's policy remains to prioritise a general election, but to leave the option of a second referendum on the table.

Earlier this week, deputy leader Tom Watson called for Labour to wholeheartedly support another public vote, and to back remaining in the EU.

Mr Corbyn's top team will gather at 1.30pm in an attempt to reach an agreed position.

An invite to the meeting says it has been scheduled "to help inform the ongoing frontbench approach to Brexit, whilst remaining in the framework of existing Labour Party policy-making and the policy as established by party members at Annual Conference".

Mr Corbyn has already pledged to revisit Labour's position on Brexit at its autumn conference, with the party still officially signed up to its 2018 policy of pushing for a general election while leaving a public vote on Brexit "on the table".

Meanwhile, PoliticsHome revealed earlier this month that Sir Keir had told supporters he was "advocating" for the party to back a second referendum in which it would make the case for Remain.

It is understood that a paper drawn up by Mr Corbyn's head of policy Andrew Fisher will be presented at Tuesday's meeting, with The Times reporting that it will back a second referendum on any agreement struck with Brussels.

A senior Labour source told the paper: "It is a moment."

But the move comes amid scepticism from some in the Shadow Cabinet about backing a fresh vote, with Labour chairman Ian Lavery this week warning against any attempt to overturn the result of the 2016 referendum.

Responding to Mr Watson's speech, he said: "Brexit has turned this country into a toxic nation. However ignoring the 17.4m Leave voters isn’t politically smart nor indeed particularly democratic. Is it?"

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