Tom Watson urges Labour members to sign pro-Remain declaration in fresh challenge to Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
5th July 2019

Tom Watson has called on grassroots activists to sign a public declaration that Labour should be a pro-Remain party.

Tom Watson addressing a People's Vote rally.
Credit: 
PA Images

In an attempt to pile more pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, the party's deputy leader warned that "as a party of Brexit we will never win again".

The move comes as the Labour leader prepares for fresh talks with trade union officials on what the party's position on a second EU referendum should be.

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Mr Watson is among a raft of Shadow Cabinet figures calling on Mr Corbyn to unequivocally support a so-called "People's Vote" and Remain.

According to The Guardian, Mr Watson's declaration says: "As the party of Remain, we will not take every voter with us, but it’s the only way that Labour can win, and the only way to keep our country together."

It adds: "Labour’s democratic tradition confers on us an obligation to win elections. Without power we can achieve nothing. As a party of Brexit we will never win again, and that is an abrogation too far.

"Because we love Britain, and because we believe in Labour, we will fight, fight and fight again to keep Britain in the EU.

"The next step, which only Labour can deliver, needs to be a public vote on the Brexit fiasco, with Labour leading the way for Remain.”

The declaration says that "a democratic socialist Labour government – equality, social justice, opportunity and prosperity for all of Britain – will follow swiftly when we regain the people’s trust".

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn has said that Labour will finalise its Brexit position before Parliament breaks up for the summer recess in less than three weeks' time.

At a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet last week, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell - who now backs a second referendum and a Remain vote - described Labour's current policy as "a slow-moving car crash".

A YouGov poll on Thursday put Labour in fourth place on 18% behind the Lib Dems as the party continues to be squeezed by pro-Remain rivals.

Labour MP Wes Streeting said: "I hope Jeremy Corbyn is looking at these numbers and reflecting on how he is going to lead our party out of this mess or whether somebody else would be better placed to do that."