WATCH: John McDonnell suggests Labour could back a Boris Johnson Brexit deal

Posted On: 
25th July 2019

John McDonnell has hinted that Labour could support a new Brexit deal negotiated by Boris Johnson.

John McDonnell said Labour could support a new Brexit deal negotiated by Boris Johnson.
PA Images

In an apparent shift in his party's position, the Shadow Chancellor said Labour will "look at" any improved agreement the new Prime Minister manages to bring back from Brussels.

Previously, the party has insisted it would demand a second referendum on any Tory Brexit deal - and would campaign for Remain.

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But appearing on ITV's Peston show just hours after Mr Johnson was sworn in, Mr McDonnell was asked what Labour's position on Brexit would be in a snap general election.

He said: "My view is that at the moment we would almost certainly be Remain.

"If he comes back with some sort of deal we'll look at that, just like we did last time. But at the moment I can't see him stitching up a deal that's acceptable either to Labour or quite a bit of his own side as well, so it looks as though we'll then be in a straight situation between a no-deal and Remain."



But in a letter to Labour members setting out the party's Brexit position two weeks ago, Jeremy Corbyn was unequivocal about its opposition to any Tory deal.

He 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."

Mr McDonnell's comments came on the same day that a spokesman for Mr Corbyn insisted Labour was not "a Remain party".

Speaking after Theresa May's final Prime Minister's Questions, he said: "We've never said that. We've said we will campaign for Remain against a damaging Tory deal or against no-deal in a referendum, but there are other circumstances that could occur."