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People's Vote on Brexit could fuel far right, John McDonnell warns

2 min read

John McDonnell has warned that a second referendum on Brexit could give an "opportunity to Ukip or the far right".

Speaking on the eve of the party conference in Liverpool, the Shadow Chancellor highlighted the "real" risks of having a “People’s Vote” on the final deal.

He told the Guardian: “We would be in the same situation there, where we would be saying: we’re accepting that original vote; this is the sort of deal that we want.

“I really think people want this sorted. That means negotiating a deal that will meet people’s objectives.

“So you don’t get hung up on the semantics; you do the deal that will protect their jobs, and address some of the concerns that they had during the referendum.

“The debate around the next manifesto will go on, but I really worry about another referendum."

The frontbencher added: “I’m desperately trying to avoid any rise of xenophobia that happened last time around…I’m desperately trying to avoid giving any opportunity to Ukip or the far right.

“I think there’s the real risk of that.

“We’re not ruling out a people’s vote, but there’s a real risk, and I think people need to take that into account when we’re arguing for one.”


Having stepped into the spotlight over the summer amid the party’s anti-Semitism crisis, some claimed McDonnell was eyeing the leadership.

But the Shadow Chancellor rubbished those claims, adding: “The next leader’s going to have to be a woman.”

He said: “Every year, it’s a hardy perennial, it’s either I’m plotting or I’m holding Jeremy Corbyn hostage so he won’t resign.

“We’ve worked together nearly 40 years. You can’t get much greater in terms of solidarity and loyalty between us.

“We’re mates, we’re close friends, we agree.”

Earlier this week, McDonnell told The House Magazine he was “having the time of his life” in frontline politics. 

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