Jeremy Corbyn: Labour would back Remain in new referendum to stop Tory Brexit or no-deal

Posted On: 
9th July 2019

Labour would campaign for Remain if there is a new referendum on a Tory Brexit or no-deal, Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigning for Remain in the last referendum.
PA Images

The Labour leader challenged whoever succeeds Theresa May as Prime Minister to commit to a "public vote" before the UK leaves the EU.

However, it it is still unclear whether Labour would support Remain or Leave if there was a referendum on any deal they negotiated with Brussels following a snap election victory.

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In a letter to Labour members, Mr Corbyn said: "Whoever becomes the new Prime Minister should have the confidence to put their deal, or no deal, back to the people in a public vote.

"In those circumstances, I want to make it clear that Labour would campaign for Remain against either no deal or a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs."

He announced the shift following weeks of talks with Labour MPs, the Shadow Cabinet, trade unions and party members.

The new policy is identical to the position agreed by Unite, Unison, the GMB, CWU and TSSA unions following talks on Monday.

But it makes no mention of what Labour would do if there was a snap election, the party won and then struck its own deal with Brussels.

Senior party sources said that would be a decision for the process leading to the publication of its election manifesto.

That leaves open the possibility of Labour either campaigning in favour of Brexit or against its own deal.

Mr Corbyn added: "We need a general election. After nine years of austerity, too many people in this country cannot find decent secure well-paid work, and have to rely on public services that have been severely cut back. 

"Our country is ravaged by inequality and rising poverty, huge regional imbalances of investment, and the government is failing to tackle the climate emergency facing us all. 

"That is why we need a Labour government to end austerity and rebuild our country for the many not the few."

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said of the Labour leader's announcement: "Labour are still a party of Brexit.

"Jeremy Corbyn can pretend all he likes that the Labour Party are finally moving towards backing the Liberal Democrat policy of a People's Vote, but it is clear it is still his intention to negotiate a damaging Brexit deal if he gets the keys to Number 10. 

"Labour must start being transparent with the British people. Any Brexit deal, whoever it is negotiated by, will damage our country. It will mean job losses, problems for our NHS, and more time wasted on not tackling the biggest issues facing the UK."