Labour frontbenchers in 'threat to quit' if Jeremy Corbyn fails to back second Brexit referendum push

Posted On: 
14th February 2019

Jeremy Corbyn is facing a raft of frontbench resignations unless he throws Labour's weight behind calls for a second EU referendum, it has emerged.

Some in Jeremy Corbyn's top team remain deeply sceptical about alienating Leave supporters with a second referendum.

According to The Guardian, as many as 10 shadow ministers could resign if the Labour leader continues to resist pressure to support a so-called People's Vote.

Labour's official policy is to keep "all options" on the table if it cannot secure a general election over Brexit, "including campaigning for a public vote".

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But several junior shadow ministers have told The Guardian that they will walk out if the Labour leader does not whip MPs to back a pro-referendum amendment when the Commons is given another Brexit vote on 27 February.

PoliticsHome has also been told that a number of backbench Labour MPs could resign the party whip over the same issue.

One critic, Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle, yesterday made clear his frustrations on Twitter.



Pro-Remain Labour MPs are increasingly frustrated at Mr Corbyn's decision to continue talks with the Government on a possible compromise Brexit deal, instead of throwing his weight behind another referendum.

Labour frontbenchers Sir Keir Starmer and Jon Trickett held "frank and serious" talks with Cabinet ministers Stephen Barclay and David Lidington yesterday about a possible way forward.

The party will today whip its MPs to back an amendment calling on the Government to bring back another meaningful vote on its Brexit deal by the end of the month.

On Wednesday night Len McCluskey, a key ally of Mr Corbyn, told ITV's Robert Peston that a second referendum "threatens the whole democratic fabric on which we operate".

The Unite general secretary added: "I’m saying that in reality it is not the best option for our nation."

But one MP told the Financial Times that the next round of Brexit votes on 27 February could the "moment of truth" for a split.

"Everything depends on whether Corbyn honours our unanimously agreed policy on a people’s vote," they said.