Labour frontbenchers urge Jeremy Corbyn to resist pressure to back second referendum

Posted On: 
23rd January 2019

Labour frontbenchers in pro-Brexit seats have urged Jeremy Corbyn not to back a second EU referendum.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
PA Images

More than a dozen shadow ministers met with Labour chief whip Nick Brown to warn him about their concerns that the party could throw its weight behind a so-called "People's Vote".

Their fears were raised after Labour tabled a Commons amendment which could see MPs give their view on whether a second referendum should happen.

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Mr Corbyn is under intense pressure over Brexit from the Labour membership, most of whom want him to back a fresh EU poll, and those who fear it could lose the party support in pro-Leave heartlands.

According to The Guardian, shadow ministers Mel Onn and Gloria De Piero - who both represent Leave seats - were among the delegation who went to see the chief whip.

They demanded that the party does not whip MPs to vote for the Labour amendment, which seeks to establish whether the majority of MPs back another referendum.

Ms Onn told the paper: “It was a meeting for frontbenchers who would find it very difficult to vote for a people’s vote if it was whipped that way.

“We have been supportive of the party’s policy so far to keep us as a strong and united opposition.

“We have not been as free in our views as some other colleagues, whose views we absolutely respect, but we didn’t want that to be seen as the only set of views that exist.”

Meanwhile, PoliticsHome understands a group of senior Labour MPs on the left of the party - including frontbenchers - have been urging the leadership to back a fresh Brexit vote.

Labour has said it could back a second referendum if it fails to secure a general election. Its bid to topple the Government earlier this month in a no-confidence vote failed.