Diane Abbott says Britain would vote for Brexit again if second EU referendum were held tomorrow

Posted On: 
23rd November 2018

The British public would vote to leave the European Union again if the referendum were rerun tomorrow, Diane Abbott has said.

Diane Abbott said campaigners for a second EU referendum should be "careful what they wish for"
Credit: 
PA Images

The Shadow Home Secretary said she was “as sure as anyone can be” that Britain would leave the bloc next March, but accepted that pushing for a second vote could yet become Labour policy.

Asked on the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast why the party had not yet taken that stance, Ms Abbott said: “First of all, I’m saying a second referendum is not off the table for the Labour party.” 

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“We passed that as a resolution at conference as one of a series of options.

“But yeah, people should be careful what they wish for, because my view is that if we had a second referendum tomorrow leave would again and not only would Leave win again but leave voters would say what didn’t you understand about Leave the first time."

Politicians and campaigners, including dozens of Labour MPs, have pushed for a so-called People’s Vote on the final deal agreed between the UK and EU.

The calls come amid major cross-party opposition to Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement, and parliamentary splits on how Brexit should be carried through.

Ms Abbott also suggested Labour’s frontbench could work with DUP MPs in a bid to oust the Tories from power.

The Northern Irish unionists, who Mrs May relies on as part of a confidence and supply agreement to give her party a working majority, said they would vote down her Brexit blueprint over the so-called 'backstop' proposal.

They are angry that the plan - aimed at keeping the Irish border open in the event of a no-deal Brexit - would leave Northern Ireland but not the rest of the UK tied to some single market regulations.

Ms Abbott said: “We would only want to ally with a group of MPs who agreed with us on the issues at stake.

“At this point, we don’t agree with the DUP on the issues at stake, but in this sort of parliamentary turmoil you can’t necessarily rule anything out…

“I always say to my MP colleagues that the people of Hackney send me to Parliament to get rid of the Tories. And if it’s all about getting rid of this Tory government you do what it takes."