Labour Second referendum remains just an option on the table.

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Jeremy Corbyn NEC
CLEAR VICTORY FOR CORBYN BREXIT PLAN AT NEC

It was a clear victory for Corbyn and the Labour Party Brexit plan

Jeremy Corbyn’s victory at a meeting of Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) has been confirmed. Corbyn’s position on Brexit for the party’s European Parliament manifesto won easily, in spite of the unavoidable absence of a number of left NEC members.

The result is a humiliating defeat for deputy leader Tom Watson, who had tried to orchestrate pressure on the Labour Party to support a second referendum in all circumstances.

But a row erupted when Jeremy Corbyn’s aides did not hand out hard copies of the manifesto.

Tom Watson left this morning’s Shadow Cabinet while it was still ongoing.

A source claimed he “stormed out” after Jeremy Corbyn’s team refused to hand out hard copies of Labour’s draft EU elections manifesto. He strongly disputed the claim, saying the meeting was “calm”.

Another Labour source insisted the NEC meeting was “respectful, constructive and comradely throughout”.

Labour is split at the highest levels on whether and how to demand a referendum, which would either “confirm” any Brexit deal or remain in the EU instead.

A string of shadow ministers want a referendum on any deal to be Labour policy and a demand in talks with Theresa May.

But others fear a backlash in many Leave-leaning Labour Heartlands.

They say Labour should only demand a second referendum if it is needed to avoid a damaging Tory Brexit or ‘No Deal’.

The issue came to a head at the NEC, where reps were discussing Labour’s manifesto for the EU elections on May 23.

Pro-EU Labour supporters had sent more than 2,000 e-mails to the NEC urging them to include a “confirmatory” vote on any deal in the manifesto.

The Unison, GMB and Usdaw unions – who all have NEC reps – also demanded the manifesto includes the policy, as did key members of the pro-Corbyn group Momentum.

But in the end it came down to this key point in the resolution that leaves a second referendum as previously voted on in the 2018 composite motion a:

“OPTION ON THE TABLE.”

Full resolution

Conference believes that there is no satisfactory technological solution that is compliant with the Good Friday Agreement and resolves to oppose any Brexit deal that would see the restoration of a border on the island of Ireland in any form for goods, services or people.

Should Parliament vote down a Tory Brexit deal or the talks end in no-deal, Conference believes this would constitute a loss of confidence in the Government. In these circumstances, the best outcome for the country is an immediate General Election that can sweep the Tories from power.

If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote. If the Government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.

This should be the first step in a Europe-wide struggle for levelling-up of living standards, rights and services and democratisation of European institutions Labour will form a radical government; taxing the rich to fund better public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.

Note that there is no mention of a ‘vote in all circumstances’. Instead, the resolution lists options that Labour will keep on the table to defeat a ‘Tory Brexit deal’.

The sentence with in the resolution that matters:

If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote. If the Government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.

Summary

The conference motion therefore boils down to three options:

  1. A Labour Brexit (no referendum)
  2. A negotiated Brexit (no referendum)
  3. If Theresa May forces a Tory Brexit that would damage the UK and create a harder border on the island of Ireland, Labour will support all means to stop it including, if necessary, a new vote

The original Composite motion LINK

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