Labour will 'haemorrhage' votes if it fails to back second referendum in EU elections, MEP leader warns Corbyn

Posted On: 
14th April 2019

The Labour party will be deserted by millions of anti-Brexit voters if it fails to back a second referendum in the upcoming EU elections, Jeremy Corbyn has been warned.

The Labour leader received a stark message from the party’s chief in the EU Parliament
Credit: 
Parliament TV

MEP Richard Corbett, who leads the Labour group in Brussels, said his party could lose traction with the young, pro-European electorate if Labour fails to confirm support for a public vote on a Brexit deal.

Labour has insisted the option of a second referendum remains on the table as a last resort to break the Brexit deadlock, but has failed to fully support a fresh poll.

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Mr Corbyn has argued another general election would be better if the Government refuses to back the Labour plan for Brexit.

Speaking to the Observer, Mr Corbett argued Labour could “haemorrhage” votes to parties with a clearer message on Brexit, such as the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and newly emerging Change UK.

The Yorkshire and Humber MEP said: “If Labour does not re-confirm its support for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal in its manifesto then it will haemorrhage votes to parties who do have a clear message.

“If on the other hand we do offer clarity and a confirmatory ballot we could do very well.”

The refusal by Mr Corbyn to throw his full weight behind calls for a second referendum has led to speculation there may be no commitment for one in Labour's European election manifesto, the paper reports.

Labour grandee and People’s Vote supporter Margaret Beckett has also urged the party to give a “clear and simple” message by backing a fresh poll.

She said a failure to do so will “cost us support not only in these elections but it will feed through into the next general election and that may not be far away”.

The comments come as Labour continues to hold talks with the Government on a way to break the Brexit deadlock.