Labour government ‘could pledge fresh EU vote on renegotiated Brexit deal’, says Barry Gardiner

Posted On: 
7th January 2019

A Labour government could ask voters to rubberstamp a renegotiated Brexit deal by offering a fresh EU referendum, a leading shadow Cabinet minister has revealed.

Barry Gardiner has suggested Labour could offer a referendum on a new Brexit deal

Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner said the party could make the offer as part of an early general election manifesto.

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge yesterday, he claimed that Labour could reach a better agreement with Brussels as it was not bound by Theresa May’s rigid objectives, but added that voters should have a say on the outcome.

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He said: “If we as a new, incoming Labour government were to go to Europe without those red lines we know that we could get a different, better deal.

“At that stage it makes sense to go to the country and say, ‘here we are, this is what we have managed to negotiate, this is the deal that we have managed to conclude because we don’t have the same red lines as Theresa May'.

“And it seems to me, at a personal level, what I would then say is that is the time when we would then say to people, ‘now make your decision on what we have managed to conclude.”

The party’s official policy is to push for a general election, but it has also not ruled out backing a so-called "people’s vote".

However, tensions have erupted recently between second referendum campaigners and Labour’s top team, with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry accusing them of attempting to coerce the party into supporting its position.

She told BBC 5Live’s Pienaar’s Politics today: "I think some people within the People’s Vote movement seem to think that their purpose is to slap the Labour party around."

She added: “What I would like them to particularly be focussing on is taking the arguments as to why we should remain in the European Union to those people who voted to Leave and to try and change some hearts and minds, rather than using it, as some people I think do, as an opportunity to attack the Labour party and the leadership of the Labour party.”

A People’s Vote spokesman said she was “badly mistaken” in her views about the campaign.