Owen Smith sacked from Shadow Cabinet after second referendum call

Posted On: 
23rd March 2018

Owen Smith has been sacked by Jeremy Corbyn after he called for a second EU referendum.

Owen Smith stood against Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader in 2016.
PA Images

He has been replaced as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary by veteran MP Tony Lloyd.

Writing in The Guardian, Mr Smith said Labour must offer another vote to “properly serve our democracy”.

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He said: "Labour needs to do more than just back a soft Brexit or guarantee a soft border in Ireland.

"Given that it is increasingly obvious that the promises the Brexiters made to the voters – especially, but not only, their pledge of an additional £350m a week for the NHS – are never going to be honoured, we have the right to keep asking if Brexit remains the right choice for the country.

"And to ask, too, that the country has a vote on whether to accept the terms, and true costs of that choice, once they are clear. That is how Labour can properly serve our democracy and the interests of our people."

The frontbencher - who stood against Mr Corbyn for the Labour leadership in 2016 - also said UK should seek to retain membership of both the customs union and single market, another demand which has previously been ruled out by the Labour leadership.

Announcing Mr Smith's replacement with Mr Lloyd, Mr Corbyn said: Tony is a highly experienced former Government Minister who is committed to ensuring that peace in Northern Ireland is maintained and helping to steer the devolution deal back on track.”

Mr Lloyd said: "As we leave the European Union, ensuring there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is of paramount importance and this will be my number one priority. This is an incredibly important job, with a huge in-tray and I am looking forward to starting work."