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Fri, 23 October 2020

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WATCH Labour could back second Brexit referendum in event of 'no deal', says Keir Starmer

WATCH Labour could back second Brexit referendum in event of 'no deal', says Keir Starmer
3 min read

Labour could back a second vote on EU membership if MPs reject Theresa May's final deal with Brussels, Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The party's stance on a second referendum has been back in the spotlight in recent days as the Unite union - Labour's biggest financial backer - left the door open to supporting one.

But the party's leadership has so far been cool on such a plan, with Jeremy Corbyn's spokesperson this week saying Brexit "should be dealt with in Parliament".

Sir Keir, who earlier this week told business chiefs the party was "not ruling out" a vote on the final deal, today said Labour was keeping "all of our options on the table".

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "The position of the Labour Party has been that we're not calling for a second referendum, we've focused very much on the vote in Parliament...

"But what we've also said is this - that should the Article 50 deal that the Prime Minister brings back be voted down or worse, there's no deal, then that's a very serious situation.

"And we're going to have to confront it when we get there and that Parliament must decide what happens next.

"And in those circumstances it seems to me the sensible thing is to keep all of our options on the table."

Sir Keir said that while a vote against the Prime Minister's deal could prompt a fresh general election, the party's MPs would also look at "other options" on the future of Brexit.

He said: "Parliament should decide what happens and at that stage there could be a general election there could be other options.

"But all options, it seems to me, ought to be on the table because that's a situation we have to avoid at all costs."


Elsewhere the Shadow Brexit Secretary challenged the Prime Minister to put the Brexit compromise she thrashed out with the Cabinet at Chequers on Friday to a Commons vote.

Dismissing the deal as having "fudge written all over it" and a "bureaucratic nightmare" that's "not going to work", Sir Keir instead urged MPs to back Labour's plan of pressing for a fresh customs union with the EU.

He said: "On Monday week the customs bill is in Parliament. So we've now got two propositions. We've got the Labour proposition which I think has the majority support in Parliament and the Prime Minister's new proposition. Let's put it to a vote.

"I challenge the Prime Minister - put it to a vote and see where the majority is in parliament on a customs union."


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