Fresh pressure on Jeremy Corbyn as Unite members back second Brexit referendum

Posted On: 
1st July 2018

Jeremy Corbyn is facing renewed pressure over his Brexit position after Unite members backed a second referendum on EU membership by nearly two to one.

Unite boss Len McCluskey is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn
PA Images

Some 57% of members of the top Labour paymaster support a “people’s vote” on the final Brexit deal compared to just 30% opposed, according to a poll by YouGov.

Official Labour party policy is against a second referendum. Meanwhile, 58% of Unite members said quitting the single market - which is also Labour policy - would damage Britain.

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The results of the survey could encourage Unite boss Len McCluskey - a close ally of Mr Corbyn - to urge a rethink. However he took to Twitter in a bid to discredit the poll.

Mr McCluskey has insisted he respects the result of the 2016 vote but Remain-supporting MPs are said to believe he is key to changing the mind of the Labour leader.

One told the Times: “Len thinks he’s supporting his members but he’s not. If we can change his mind, that’s the first step to changing Jeremy’s mind.”

Elsewhere in the poll, 61% of Unite members said pushing for a free trade deal with the EU was more important than limiting the free flow of migration.

Some 20% said they trusted Theresa May to take the right decisions on Brexit compared with 20% for Jeremy Corbyn - and a damning 52% said they opposed the approach taken by Labour.

Baroness Prosser, a former deputy general secretary of the former Transport and General Workers’ Union, which merged into Unite in 2007, said: “I support people being given a democratic right to have their voice heard on Brexit before a final decision is taken to leave the EU.”

She added: “Unite has an opportunity to back that this week.”