Fresh pressure on Jeremy Corbyn as young Labour members demand conference vote on second Brexit referendum

Posted On: 
20th May 2018

Tens of thousands of young Labour members have demanded Jeremy Corbyn grants them a vote on changing his Brexit policy at the next party conference.

Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out a vote on the final Brexit deal
Credit: 
PA Images

Two powerful groups representing young people have joined forces to pile pressure on the Labour leader over his refusal to offer the public a referendum on the final EU deal.

In a letter, Labour Students chair Melantha Chittenden and Young Labour chair Miriam Mirwitch said: “We deserve to have our voices heard by our own party.”

EXCL Labour Brexit splits burst into open as shadow minister backs fresh referendum

Labour MPs heap fresh pressure on Jeremy Corbyn over second Brexit referendum

Labour frontbencher keeps job after defying whip on second Brexit referendum

Some three quarters of Labour members believe a second Brexit referendum should be held on the deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels - but Mr Corbyn has ruled out a vote.

The intervention puts the party leader in a tough spot as he seeks to keep Brexit supporters in Labour heartlands on board as well.

Their letter said: “The referendum result was not representative of the views of young people across the country, nor the views of the wider party membership…

“Young people and working class people are the most likely to be negatively impacted by Brexit - the very people we as a party are meant to represent.

“This will be the biggest issue to affect our generation; we deserve to have our voices heard by our own party.”

And they added: "If we mean what we say when we are talking about being a party led by our membership, it is only right our policy reflects the will of our membership."

“We understand your hesitancy and the difficult political climate.

“However, in order for our policy on leaving the European Union to represent the views of our membership, we believe it is imperative that members have a vote at Labour party conference.”

Labour bigwigs were accused of organising to block a vote on Brexit policy at the annual conference last year, when members decided not to include it in a ballot of priority subjects for debate.

The conference did back a separate motion after Labour bosses produced one under pressure - but it did not concern fraught issues such as single market and customs union membership or a second referendum.

The letter today heaps further pressure on Mr Corbyn after Labour members in Lewisham East picked an anti-Brexit campaigner to stand for the party at an upcoming by-election.

Local deputy mayor Janet Daby won the candidacy in the strongly pro-Remain area after promising to fight to keep the UK in the single market and customs union - both of which are against Labour policy.