Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will not back a second EU referendum

Posted On: 
20th April 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out backing a second EU referendum – just hours after refusing to do so. 

Jeremy Corbyn has finally ruled out backing a second EU referendum.
PA Images

The Times reported this morning that senior Labour figures were urging him to commit to another poll on the final Brexit deal in a bid to woo Remain voters in the upcoming general election.

Appearing in London this morning, Mr Corbyn pointedly failed to deny the story, and instead re-stated the party's current position on Brexit.

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He said: “European Union negotiations are going on and we have set out our lines – primarily it is about gaining and retaining tariff-free access to the European market.

“We haven't threatened to turn Britain into an offshore tax haven on the shores of Europe, undermining the European Parliament. We have said instead we want to work with them to have an agreed process by which we would continue to trade with Europe.”

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell added to the confusion by also refusing to rule out a second referendum.

But in a statement, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “A second referendum is not our policy and it won't be in our manifesto.”

Tory chairman Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is yet more evidence of chaos from Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. It shows they can’t provide the strong and stable leadership Britain needs at this serious moment in our history.

“It’s clear Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP are now lining up to disrupt our Brexit negotiations in a coalition of chaos. This can only mean more uncertainty for Britain, more risk and a future that is less secure.”

The Liberal Democrats, who have been pressing for voters to be consulted again before the Brexit process is concluded, seized on the spokesman’s comments to accuse Labour of backing the Conservative plans for a “hard, destructive Brexit”.

Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael said: “By denying the people a vote on the final Brexit deal, he [Mr Corbyn] is turning his back on democracy and the 48% of voters who wanted to remain, but also people who voted leave but clearly want us to stay in the Single Market.

“This is a betrayal of the millions of former Labour voters who strongly reject Theresa May’s hard-right Brexit plan. They deserve a vote on the final deal that the Tories come back with, and the Lib Dems will fight to give it to them.”