Opposition leaders beg Jeremy Corbyn to back a second Brexit referendum after election bid defeat

Posted On: 
17th January 2019

Opposition leaders have issued a last-ditch plea to Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum on Brexit after he failed to trigger a general election.

Jeremy Corbyn is worried backing a second Brexit referendum will alienate Labour voters in pro-Leave heartlands
PA Images

Lib Dem boss Vince Cable and the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party said Britain was “locked in a Brexit impasse” and a so-called "People's Vote" vote was the “only way forward”.

Plaid MP Liz Saville Roberts meanwhile warned Mr Corbyn her party would not support any more “meaningless” no-confidence motions in the Government, after Labour suggested it could repeat its stunt.

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Theresa May last night comfortably won the no-confidence vote tabled by the Labour leader by 325 votes to 306. It means the Government has headed off the chance of a general election for now.

After much wrangling at its conference last year, Labour agreed that it could push for a second Brexit referendum if it fails to secure a general election.

But Mr Corbyn is reluctant to do so over fears it would alienate swathes of Labour voters in pro-Leave heartlands - despite being a sop to the overwhelmingly pro-Remain Labour membership.

The opposition party leaders penned a letter to the Labour boss last night in the wake of the no-confidence vote urging him to trigger the second stage of his party conference motion.

They said they were “writing to implore you to adopt as party policy a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal”.

“We are now locked in a Brexit impasse, as we do not believe the Prime Minister will be able to come back and offer the House any deal that will secure the support of a majority of MPs,” the letter went on.

“This is why we believe the only way forward is to hold a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.”

They added: “We believe, as per the motion passed at your party conference, it is only correct that you now move to back a public vote.”

Alongside Mr CableSir Vince and Ms Saville Roberts, the letter was signed by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Ms Saville Roberts meanwhile told HuffPost UK her party “will not support… meaningless motions of no confidence tabled by the Labour Party on a rolling basis”.

It comes after 71 Labour MPs piled pressure on Mr Corbyn to consider backing a second referendum on Brexit.

In the wake of the no-confidence motion defeat, Mrs May reached out to the opposition leaders to discuss a way forward on Brexit.

But Mr Corbyn has refused to play ball unless a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table.

Meanwhile, writing for PoliticsHome, Labour MP Luciana Berger also called on Mr Corbyn to back a second referendum.