Leave would win again if fresh referendum held on Brexit, Diane Abbott says

Shadow home secretary says MPs calling for public to be given final say should be 'careful what they wish for'

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Friday 23 November 2018 17:25
Leave would win again if fresh referendum held on Brexit, Diane Abbott says

The British public would again vote to leave the EU if another referendum is held on Brexit, Diane Abbott has said.

Labour's shadow home secretary said her party could end up backing calls for the public to be given the final say on the terms of Brexit but predicted that Leave would again win the poll.

MPs pushing for a fresh vote should therefore be "careful what they wish for", she said.

Ms Abbott told the BBC's Political Thinking podcast: “First of all, I’m saying a second referendum is not off the table for the Labour Party. We passed that as a resolution at conference as one of a series of options.

"But yeah, people should be careful what they wish for, because my view is that if we had a second referendum tomorrow, Leave would win again and not only would Leave win again but Leave voters would say 'What didn’t you understand about Leave the first time?'."

A growing number of MPs have voiced support for another public vote on Brexit amid parliamentary deadlock over Theresa May's planned deal.

Labour has said it will push for a general election if the agreement is voted down. If it cannot secure one then it will consider other options, including the possibility of a People's Vote.

The Independent's petition in favour of a fresh referendum has been signed by more than a million people.

Ms May faces an uphill battle to convince the Commons to approve her deal, with as many as 80 Tory MPs threatening to vote against it.

DUP MPs, whose votes the prime minister relies on to maintain her governing majority, have suggested they will not support the government until she ditches the customs backstop she has agreed with the EU. The plan could see Northern Ireland being governed by different regulations to the rest of the UK.

Ms Abbott suggested Labour could work with the Northern Irish party to oust the Conservative government.

She said: “We would only want to ally with a group of MPs who agreed with us on the issues at stake.

“At this point, we don’t agree with the DUP on the issues at stake, but in this sort of parliamentary turmoil you can’t necessarily rule anything our.

“I always say to my MP colleagues that the people of Hackney send me to Parliament to get rid of the Tories. And if it’s all about getting rid of this Tory government you do what it takes."

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