Labour sister party backs 'People's Vote' on Brexit deal in challenge to Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
13th October 2018

A party which is affiliated to Labour has called for a referendum to be held on the final Brexit deal.

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In a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn, the Co-operative Party - which has 38 MPs who sit with Labour in the Commons - also called for the UK to stay in the single market and a customs union with the EU.

The move, agreed at the party's conference in Bristol, is also a blow for Theresa May as it means their MPs are virtually certain to vote against any deal she brings to Parliament later this year.

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Labour has stopped short of backing another EU referendum, arguing instead that there should be a general election if Mrs May's deal is rejected by the Commons.

But one of six motions on Brexit passed overwhelmingly at the Coperative Party conference says: "The terms of any Brexit deal were not known at the time of the referendum in 2016. Once the negotiations are concluded, there should be a public vote on whether or not we should leave the EU on the terms proposed."

Another calls for "continued UK membership of, and access to, the single market through the European Economic Area agreement".

Co-operative Party chair Gareth Thomas MP said: "Members of the Co-operative Party have today voted to put the British people back at the heart of the Brexit process, by backing a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal.  Our party is also been clear that no deal is not an option.  

"As we work towards building a Britain where wealth and power are shared, it is vital that Brexit does not lead Britain down a path of greater inequality, insecurity and isolation. Instead we need a Britain with co-operative values of democracy, equality and solidarity at its heart. This is what is at stake."

Eloise Todd, head of the Best For Britain campaign, which is calling for another referendum, said: "It’s great news that the Co-op Party official position is to back putting the final decision on EU membership to the people.

"The party includes key MPs from across the Labour party, and echoes the position Labour set out at its conference at the end of September: if an election is not possible then Labour and Co-op MPs are open to a people’s vote on the Brexit deal to give their members, voters and citizens the right to choose between the Government deal and our current EU terms.

"We call on the Prime Minister to listen to the growing number of people and organisations who are saying the people should be in the driving seat."