Brexit: Labour could back second referendum, Sir Keir Starmer says

Opposition party 'not ruling out' a 'People's Vote', shadow Brexit secretary says

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Friday 06 July 2018 21:36 BST
Comments
Sir Keir Starmer said things will get worse for a while after Brexit
Sir Keir Starmer said things will get worse for a while after Brexit

Labour could still support a second Brexit referendum, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The shadow Brexit secretary said his party was not "ruling out" a public vote on the final deal Theresa May negotiates with Brussels.

He also admitted that the UK leaving the EU means "things will get worse" in the short-term.

Jeremy Corbyn has previously dismissed calls for a "People's Vote" on the Brexit agreement but, speaking at a private meeting of the Labour Business Group, Sir Keir said it remained a possibility if Parliament rejects the deal.

Asked what would happen if the final deal is voted down, Sir Keir said: "It is Parliament that should decide what happens next, it should have the power to decide the options, and this might involve a general election or a 'People's Vote'."

He added: "We're not calling for it. We respect the result of the first referendum.

"But we're not ruling out a second referendum."

There is growing pressure on the Labour leadership to support calls for a second referendum, with many party members, the influential Momentum campaign group and a number of MPs ramping up their campaign for the public to be given a say on the final deal.

Earlier in the week, the Unite trade union, Labour's biggest donor, said it was "open to the possibility of a popular vote being held on any deal".

Sir Keir was also asked whether things were likely to get worse once Britain quits the EU.

He said: "Yes, things will get worse in the short term, as impact reports show. But I don't want to tell my kids that it's all downhill from here.

"We have a duty to make [Brexit] work."

The People's Vote campaign welcomed Sir Keir's comments.

A spokesperson said: "Travel inside the Labour Party on this issue is in only one direction.

"This week Unite, Labour's biggest affiliate, made it clear that a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal was a real option for Labour and now the shadow cabinet member with policy responsibility for this area appears to be confirming that view.

"Brexit is a big deal, but it's not a done deal."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in