Labour hit by fresh Brexit confusion as Barry Gardiner is slapped down ... by Barry Gardiner

Posted On: 
21st January 2019

Brexit splits are not hard to find in the Labour and Conservative parties.

Barry Gardiner has distanced himself from Barry Gardiner.
Credit: 
PA Images

But it is still pretty rare to find a senior frontbencher who is at odds with himself.

Step forward Barry Gardiner who, it must be said, is not a stranger to Brexit controversy.

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The Shadow International Trade Secretary has, at one time or another, managed to annoy his Labour colleagues on a customs union, the Good Friday Agreement and, on more than occasion, on calls for a second EU referendum.

But he has never been slapped down by his own spokesperson before. Until today, that is.

The bold Bazza popped up on the BBC to declare that, if MPs are asked to vote on another referendum, Labour would be in favour.

He said: "If there is a motion for a second referendum that is put before Parliament, our position as a party is that we would be supporting a public vote, that is part of our unanimous decision at our party conference. Nothing would be ruled off the table at that stage."

This surprised most people, not least Jeremy Corbyn, who has steadfastly refused to bend to calls from Labour MPs and members for the party to support a second vote.

With referendum campaigners welcoming the apparent shift in Labour's thinking, the Labour spin machine cranked into action to slap down Barry over his gaffe.

And who better to administer said slap down that "a spokesperson for Barry Gardiner", who said: "Barry is committed to Labour’s policy of pushing for a general election as the best outcome and if the Conservatives continue to block a general election then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote. Whipping arrangements in the coming days and weeks will be decided in the usual way."

Or, as Theresa May would put it: "Nothing has changed."