Cross-party MPs drop 'People’s Vote' amendment with blast at Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
24th January 2019

A group of cross-party MPs have dropped plans to table a so-called People's Vote amendment - and blamed Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to back the plans.

The cross-party group dropped the plans after it was clear they would fail to win support from MPs
Credit: 
Sky News

The group had planned to force the issue to a vote by amending next Tuesday’s Brexit bill - but today shelve their amendment after it was clear they would not gain enough support from MPs.

The MPs, including senior Labour backbenchers Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger, blamed the Labour leadership for the failure of the plan, urging Mr Corbyn to “do the right thing” by backing plans for a second referendum.

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Speaking at a press conference outside the Palace of Westminster Luciana Berger said: “At a time when Labour should be championing a People’s Vote, the leadership avoids answering that call.

“Because the Labour leadership and frontbench won’t back a People’s Vote, there will not be a vote on the cross-party People’s Vote amendment next week.”

Mr Corbyn has so far resisted calls to throw his party’s backing behind the official People’s Vote campaign but has insisted that supporting a second vote remains “on the table” if the party cannot force a general election.

But several senior Labour MPs in Leave-supporting seats have lobbied Mr Corbyn not to back the plans, warning the party would face electoral wipeout in Brexit-supporting constituencies.

Earlire this week Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister Melanie Onn threatened to quit her frontbench role if Mr Corbyn committed the party to supporting a fresh public vote.

Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who had planned to table the amendment, added: “We continue to believe that the PM#s deal does not represent the ‘will of the people’ it is a flawed deal which pleases neither Remainers nor a large proportion of those who voted to leave.

“We entirely reject the assertion from government that it is somehow anti democratic to give people the opportunity to examine Brexit reality, weigh up the risks and benefits and ask if this deal, warts and all, or another defined and achievable alternative, is what they want or whether they would prefer to remain with the deal we already have.

“People have a right to change their minds and the mandate from the first referendum, over two years ago and based on entirely unrealistic promises and outright lies, has expired.
As a group of doctors from across three Parties, we wanted to bring an amendment that would make sure we have the valid consent of the people.”

The group instead pledged to back a number of other amendments which seek to give extra powers to backbenchers, including one from Labour's Yvetter Cooper which would give MPs the opportunity to delay a no-deal Brexit.

A spokesperson for the official People’s Vote campaign said: “It is up to MPs what amnedments they table and when. The priority for the People’s Vote campaign is to get majority support for the “take back control amendments” before the Commons on Tuesday. If passed, these would demonstrate a consensus in Parliament around extending Article 50, which will be necessary for a People’s Vote, and against a catastrophic “no deal” departure from the EU.

“Our campaign continues to gather momentum and increase support but a People’s Vote will probably not secure a majority in the House of Commons until every Brexit option has been exhausted. But when it becomes clear there is no majority for any Brexit option, the only way forward will be a People’s Vote.”

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have vowed to push ahead with their own amendment calling on the Government to prepare fpr a second referendum with an option to remain in the EU.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: “There is still time to act in the national interest. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership must stop dreaming up more and more creative excuses for refusing to support a people’s vote, which their members support and want.

“No matter who delivers Brexit it will be bad for jobs, the NHS and reduce our standing in the world. That is why the Liberal Democrats are steadfastly committed to a people’s vote, where people have the right to choose to remain in the EU.”