EXCL Shadow minister ditches support for fresh EU referendum after just 48 hours

Posted On: 
18th June 2018

A Labour frontbencher has ditched his support for another EU referendum - just 48 hours after saying he supported one.

Steohen Pound had said he backed a so-called 'people's vote' on the Brexit deal.
PA Images

Shadow Northern Ireland minister Stephen Pound filmed a message on Saturday declaring that he backed a so-called "people's vote" on the final Brexit deal.

His comments put him at odds with official Labour policy, which is not to support another referendum.

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Mr Pound said: "This decision is not something we can just forget about a week later. This is a decision that is going to affect my grandchildren, their children and every single generation of this country - it is so, so serious that we have to have a cold evaluation.

"This shouldn't be about ludicrous slogans on the side of a bus. This should be about the future of the European ideal - for us and for all future generations. Support a people's vote."

Mr Pound's comments were welcomed as a major coup by campaigners for a second EU referendum.

But in a statement issued by Labour today, the Ealing North MP said that what he actually supported was a meaningful vote for MPs on the withdrawal agreement.

He said: "I respect the result of the referendum and fully support the position of Labour's frontbench; the vote I want to see is a meaningful vote in Parliament."

A source at the People's Vote campaign told PoliticsHome: "Labour MPs are making the wrong choice if they prefer to keep their frontbench job to standing up for what is right for the country and backing a People’s Vote."

It is also understood that the group is to step up its efforts to share Mr Pound's video on social media.

Last month shadow ministerial aides Anna McMorrin and Tonia Antoniazzi both backed a cross-party call for another referendum.

Both of them were among six Labour frontbenchers to resign last week so they could break the Labour whip and back British membership of the European Economic Area.

Mr Pound is not the first Labour frontbench to apparently change their minds about a second referendum.

PoliticsHome revealed last month that Shadow International Development Minister Preet Gill had tweeted her support for a "people's vote".

But she issued a clarification following our report, insisting instead that what she backed was "a meaningful vote on the deal by Parliament ... informed by the people we represent".