Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn faces demands from Labour activists to back referendum


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Twenty 4 hours earlier than Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn makes a speech on Brexit, a few of his personal activists have been urgent for a extra sturdy stance.

The occasion’s present coverage is to oppose Theresa Might’s deal, then name for an election – and provided that that does not occur ought to different choices be thought of.

These would come with (however usually are not restricted to) what the occasion calls a “public vote” on Brexit.

However some members have gotten extra vocal in demanding the management velocity up requires a brand new referendum.

Labour’s worldwide coverage fee – which consists of shadow cupboard members, commerce unionists and rank and file activists – mentioned Brexit for 2 hours on Wednesday afternoon.

The fee would not have the ability to vary coverage however it heard occasion activists’ considerations.

I perceive greater than 5,000 Labour members posted submissions to it.

I’ve sifted by way of a few of these – and here’s a flavour.

Labour members’ voices

A celebration member known as Margo Sheridan declares: “It is now crunch time – a big majority of Labour members now desire a new referendum.”

If that does not occur, she says: “It might break my coronary heart to go away the Labour occasion after 42 years, however I might don’t have any different alternative.”

A councillor, Andrew Prenter, says he’s “in despair over the management’s technique on Brexit”.

And an activist known as John Newham says: ‘Given the chance of parliament being unable to agree on the PM’s deal, Labour ought to seize the initiative and suggest a second referendum.”

Many extra contributions are in the same vein.

Labour sources level out that solely round 1% of Labour’s mass membership have made these views recognized to the coverage fee.

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Labour MP Chuka Umunna with members of the cross-party Individuals’s Vote marketing campaign

And we definitely mustn’t assume that the entire despairing feedback are spontaneous.

The Individuals’s Vote marketing campaign has been encouraging its Labour members to press the occasion management to help a brand new referendum.

These campaigners are sometimes dismissed by these near Jeremy Corbyn as “centrists” or “Blairites”.

However some on the Left – who in any other case strongly help Mr Corbyn’s management – say fellow activists are feeling disheartened by the reluctance of the management to name for a brand new referendum.

Michael Chessum, from left-wing marketing campaign group One other Europe Is Doable. advised me: “Labour’s management has to grasp that I as a left-wing activist, and different left-wing activists in Momentum, are very apprehensive in regards to the risk to the Corbyn challenge if Corbyn spins so far-off from his members.

“I feel there’s ache for Labour no matter path we go now, however we now have to return to the folks and if Corbyn does that, it is going to save all the scenario.”

Battles within the branches

Michael Chessum expects about 200 of Labour’s 650 native constituency events to debate Brexit coverage this month.

His group desires to see each a recent referendum and a defence of the free motion of individuals.

Polling suggests robust help for a referendum amongst rank and file Labour members, however different opinions can be found.

The left-wing Marketing campaign for Labour Occasion Democracy is circulating a counter-motion for dialogue amongst Labour’s native events.

That is supportive of the management place, which prioritises an election over a public vote.

And sources say at Wednesday’s coverage fee assembly, consideration was given to the views of these members who had expressed considerations about shifting shortly to help a brand new referendum and those that wished to clarify that the results of the 2016 vote was being revered.

There was additionally vocal help for the “sequencing” of any response to the federal government on Brexit – in different phrases urgent for an election earlier than another choices have been thought of.

And there was reward for the management’s resolution to not desk a confidence vote earlier than Christmas, as a substitute ready till the prime minister places her deal to a Commons vote.

Tensions on the high

Nonetheless, there have been tensions on the high of the occasion over when precisely to press a vote of no confidence within the authorities.

Supporters of a brand new referendum had been pushing for this to be accomplished swiftly as they anticipate it, and requires a common election, to fail.

They might then push for the occasion to marketing campaign for a public vote.

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Media captionLabour’s Jon Ashworth: “We’re not enabling Brexit. This nation had a referendum”

For apparent causes, opponents of a brand new referendum – and a few shadow cupboard members wish to keep away from this in any respect prices – have not been eager to maneuver so swiftly.

As issues stand, I’m advised it is possible that the 2 positions shall be reconciled.

As parliament as we speak has, in impact, requested for the prime minister to come back again with a Plan B inside simply three working days of her deal taking place to defeat, then this appears to be rising because the favoured time for a confidence vote.

No dramatic change

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Kate Hoey believes Mr Corbyn will resist calls for an additional referendum

Labour MP Kate Hoey – who campaigned to go away the EU – has recognized Jeremy Corbyn for years.

She believes that even when Labour’s confidence vote fails to result in an election, her occasion chief will not rush to embrace a brand new referendum.

She advised me: “I feel Jeremy will resist the decision for a second referendum except there’s completely no different choice.

“And people of us on the Depart facet will at all times say there are many choices.”

Occasion insiders inform me to not anticipate a dramatic change in coverage from the Labour chief in Thursday’s speech.


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