Shadow minister breaks ranks with Jeremy Corbyn to demand Article 50 extension and second EU referendum

Posted On: 
6th February 2019

A shadow minister has broken ranks with Jeremy Corbyn to demand that Article 50 be extended to allow time for a fresh referendum on Brexit.

Labour frontbencher Marsha De Cordova
Credit: 
House of Commons

In a major split from Labour's official policy, Battersea MP Marsha de Cordova said it was "increasingly clear" that a second vote was needed to give people a say on where the UK goes from here.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn has repeatedly said that the party will push for a general election in the first instance, but keep the option of backing another referendum "on the table" if that fails.

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Writing for the South London Press, shadow work and pensions minister Ms de Cordova said the country “deserved better” than a choice between the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal or the possibility of leaving without the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place.

“To break the Brexit deadlock, it is increasingly clear that we will need to extend Article 50,” she wrote. “This would give us the time to take this question back to the people, with a public vote on the deal."

She added: “In this vote, I would support Remain because I know it is the deal that works best for Battersea, for London, and for the country.

“A no deal Brexit is not an option: The government’s own economic analysis says it would hit GDP by 9.3 per cent over a 15-year period.

“Trade unions and businesses warn that it would have a devastating impact on jobs.”

Her comments come a month after shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan heaped pressure on Mr Corbyn to “show leadership” and become a leading voice in the campaign for a second referendum.

She said: “Labour members and supporters are looking for Labour to show leadership. Jeremy Corbyn can become the leading voice in the campaign for a public vote, really shaping what the referendum would look like."

A spokesperson from the People’s Vote campaign said: "It's great to see more and more MPs putting their country before party and calling for an extension of Article 50, as well as the need for a People's Vote on Brexit.

"Theresa May's deal does not resolve any of the Brexit contradictions, instead it will mean years more negotiations with the EU to the detriment of all the other important issues facing our country. That's why it's so encouraging to see more and more senior figures in Parliament join the growing calls across the country for the public to have the final say on Brexit through a People's Vote."

The Labour party have been approached for comment.