Sadiq Khan warns Jeremy Corbyn to back Remain in second referendum amid neutrality hint over Brexit

Posted On: 
19th September 2019

Sadiq Khan has questioned Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to stay neutral in a second referendum saying Labour is “a remain party”.

Sadiq Khan pushed back at Mr Corbyn's neutral stance
Credit: 
PA

The London mayor insisted they should campaign to stay in the EU, a day after the Labour leader said he wouldn’t pick a side if there was another vote on the UK’s membership.

Mr Corbyn wrote in the Guardian: “A Labour government would secure a sensible deal based on the terms we have long advocated, including a new customs union with the EU; a close single market relationship; and guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections. 

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"We would then put that to a public vote alongside Remain. I pledge to carry out whatever the people decide, as a Labour prime minister."

But asked on Thursday whether he supported Mr Corbyn’s comments, Mr Khan told Sky News: “I’m quite clear the Labour party that I belong to, the Labour party I’m proud to be a Labour mayor of, we should be a Remain party.

“What we should be doing is giving the British public a final say, do you accept the terms of exit from the EU that’s been negotiated by the Government or do you want to remain in the European Union.

“I can’t think of anything more democratic that giving the British public a say, and I think we should if there’s a referendum, a public vote, campaign to remain.”

Mr Khan’s pushback comes a week after he called for the party to move its position on Brexit, and that he personally backed “removing” Article 50.

A string of frontbenchers including Emily Thornberry, Tom Watson and John McDonnell have already made clear that they would campaign to Remain if a fresh public vote was called.

Jeremy Corbyn has already committed Labour to holding a referendum on any Brexit deal agreed by the Commons, with the option of staying in the bloc on the ballot paper.

The party is expected to host heated debate over whether to adopt a pro-EU stance in a second referendum at its annual conference in Manchester this week.

Speaking to the Andrew Marr Show last week, Mr Khan added: “Whether it's a no-deal Brexit, whether it's the deal negotiated by Theresa May, whether it's an improvement that a Labour government may achieve - that is far less favourable than the option of staying in the EU. 

“And once we've got the public vote we should campaign to remain in the EU."