EXCL Labour official working for Jeremy Corbyn says MPs calling for second Brexit vote want a Tory government

Posted On: 
16th January 2019

A member of staff in Jeremy Corbyn's office has accused Labour MPs who back a second EU referendum of wanting a Tory government.

Mr Corbyn is caught between his party membership - which overwhelmingly supports a second referendum - and many Labour voters in pro-Leave heartlands.
Credit: 
PA Images

Joe Bradley, who has responsibility for trade union and NEC relations, attacked the MPs after they issued a statement piling pressure on the Labour boss to back a so-called "people's vote".

Shadow Minister Roberta Blackman Woods was among those who put their name to a statement urging the Labour leader to back a fresh poll if the Government survives tonight's motion of no confidence.

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But Mr Bradley took to Twitter to say: "Not a single one of these MPs cares about removing the Tory government."

He has since deleted the post. But one MP who signed the letter today told PoliticsHome: "What a t**t but shows the thought process in the leader's officer. They are doubling down on Brexit."

A Labour spokeswoman said the party did not comment on staffing matters.

The row came just hours before Labour gets the chance to bring down the Government in the wake of MPs voting down Theresa May's Brexit deal last night.

The MPs' statement techinally sticks to official Labour party policy agreed at party conference last year - that securing a general election should be a priority for the party, but that dupport for a second referendum should not be ruled out.

The statement, signed by 71 Labour MPs and 13 Labour MEPs said: “We must try and remove this Government from office as soon as possible.

“But the removal of the Government and pushing for a General Election may prove impossible, so we must join trade unions, our members and a majority of our constituents by then unequivocally backing the only logical option to help our country move forward: putting the decision back to the people for a final say, in a public vote, with the option to stay and keep the deal that we have.”

Alongside housing minister Ms Blackman Woods, the statement was signed by former frontbencher Debbie Abrahams and MPs Graham Jones, Kate Green and John Grogan, who have not voiced support for the People’s Vote campaign before.

Mr Corbyn is caught between his party membership - which overwhelmingly supports a second referendum - and many Labour voters in pro-Leave heartlands.

He told the BBC on Sunday that he would rather see Britain secure a Brexit deal than hold a second EU referendum.

'NO TIME-FRAME'

A spokesman for the Labour leader last night suggested Mr Corbyn would be more likely to table further no-confidence motions in the Government than back a fresh public poll on Brexit.

But Labour MP Stephen Doughty, a leading light in the People’s Vote campaign, said his camp would not be making any drastic moves if the leadership does not back a second referendum after failure in no-confidence motion tonight.

“It is not for us to specify a time-frame,” he said at a press call revealing the statement today. “That is entirely obviously for the leadership to do so. We entirely understand they have got to take difficult decisions.

“We are just making clear that obviously if we can’t do that then we have got to put this issue back to the people.”

Mr Corbyn tabled the no-confidence motion last night after MPs voted down Mrs May's Brexit plans 230 votes - the biggest defeat for a sitting government in history.