Jeremy Corbyn faces shadow ministerial resignations over second referendum

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keir starmer turns his back on leave voting constituencies
Keir Starmer turns his back on leave voting constituencies

It is incredibly disappointing to see the Labour party bow down to remain pressure in suggesting it would support a second referendum.

Party policy is to leave the EU, Labour’s conference composite motion was always an ‘OPTION’ for a Second referendum, not a ‘POLICY.’ It now appears to many outside the predominantly remain London centric bubble that the Labour Party does not respect their vote or views on leaving the EU. LINK

Perception is everything.

It does not matter that the amendment the Labour Party are proposing is an exit strategy, an alternative deal to leave the EU. The suggestion of a second referendum is the last resort the threat if you will. The remain campaigners have conveniently missed that part along with the mainstream press and gone full blown in their announcements that the Labour Party as backed a second referendum.

amendment to the government’s Brexit motion with Labour’s five requirements for a “credible alternative plan.”

Labour’s five demands for the Brexit deal are:
  1. A permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU;
  2. close alignment with the Single Market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations;
  3. dynamic alignment on rights and protections;
  4. commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation;
  5. Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases.

But here is the crunch the statement that made the headlines;

Shadow Brexit minister Keir Starmer reiterated that if the Labour plans do not receive a majority in the Commons, “Labour will deliver on the promise we made at our annual conference and support a public vote. ”

This is what will be remembered not Labour’s five requirements for a “credible alternative plan.” but “LABOUR SUPPORT A SECOND REFERENDUM!

It is also important to know the Labour Party do not have the power to gift a second referendum no matter the circumstances. Campaigning for the so called People’s would be seen by the many as a perversion of democracy were as Labour’s opposition will use this making it a sound bite that ‘Your vote cannot be trusted with Labour’

We only need look at what keir Starmer said about respecting the result of the referendum in his emotionally charged speech to see the hypocrisy of backing a return to the ballots.

Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary, said a second vote would not offer people a no-deal option.

People will say the PLP are being democratic and it is the will of the Party members. A Party also have the duty to represent the people of the country and uphold their democratic vote. The Labour Party must also accept the fact nearly 70% of Labour constituencies voted to leave the EU all outside the predominantly remain metropolitan cities. This will not bode well for Labour MP’s in Leave constituencies.

Labour chairman Ian Lavery, a long-standing opponent of a second referendum, said the new policy was “political suicide”, while Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett also criticised the move.

Leave-backing Labour MPs have already demanded that Mr Corbyn give his troops a free vote on any second referendum amendment.

Shift in policy has upset frontbench representing Leave areas

Jeremy Corbyn is facing the threat of shadow ministerial resignations en masse over his decision to back a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

The Labour leader’s belated support for another vote on Brexit has sparked a fresh row within the party, prompting fears that several junior ministers could quit in protest over the move.

A shadow Cabinet source told i that the shift in policy meant there were now fears a “number of the junior shadow front bench could walk, which is a concern”.

Ministerial abstentions

It means Mr Corbyn’s team will be keeping a close eye on shadow ministers, such as Tracy Brabin, Gloria de Piero, Mike Kane, Melanie Onn, Judith Cummins, Yvonne Fovargue, Emma Lewell-Buck and Jim McMahon all of whom abstained on a Yvette Cooper’s bid to extend Article 5o last month.

Several members of Mr Corbyn’s top team clashed over the plans during yesterday’s weekly shadow Cabinet meeting amid concerns it could cause severe electoral damage in Labour heartlands.

The proposals, which were strongly defended by deputy leader Tom Watson, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, would mean going back to the public with a choice between a “credible” option to Leave versus Remain.

Confirming the plans in the Commons, Mr Corbyn said: “The Prime Minister’s botched deal provides no certainty or guarantees for the future and was comprehensively rejected by this House.

“We cannot risk our country’s industry and people’s livelihoods and so if it somehow does pass in some form at a later stage, we believe there must be a confirmatory public vote to see if people feel it is what they voted for.”

It came after leave-supporting Labour MP John Mann warned the move would be “catastrophic to Labour in the Midlands and the north”.

“Our manifesto was unambiguous, we would accept the result of the referendum. A second referendum doesn’t do that and the voters – in very, very large numbers – will not accept that,” he told the BBC.

“Dress it up whichever why you like a second referendum gives one message you voted the wrong way do it again!” 

The move is also opposed by several high-profile backbenchers, such as former minister Caroline Flint, Lucy Powell and Stephen Kinnock.

Ms Flint warned the party must not “ignore millions of Labour voters” by supporting a second referendum.

Another backbencher, Gareth Snell, MP for Stoke on Trent told Mr Corbyn in the Commons: “For the record, I will not and shall not and cannot vote for a second referendum no matter how much lipstick is put on it.”

Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary, said a second vote would not offer people a no-deal option.

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Paul Knaggs
Editor Labour Heartlands, Labour Party member and activist. Editor NBN. Paul was brought up and raised in a South Yorkshire pit village the son of a coal face miner he joined the British Army in 1984 during the pit strike. Paul is a military veteran and as always remained Left wing. Throughout Pauls' constantly changing life socialism has been constant. Paul is also a member of the True Labour Movement.