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Labour conference - LIVE: Leadership faces backlash after John McDonnell says new Brexit referendum should not include remain option

Follow live updates from Liverpool here

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Monday 24 September 2018 17:00 BST
Labour's party conference 2018 preview

The Labour leadership is facing a backlash from party members and its own MPs after John McDonnell said any future Brexit referendum should not include the option of remaining in the EU.

The shadow chancellor said that, if Labour does eventually support another public vote, it would only be on "the terms of Brexit" and would not give the public the chance to reverse the result of the 2016 referendum.

The issue has dominated the party's annual conference in Liverpool. Last night, a tense six-hour meeting saw delegates agree a motion on Brexit that will be voted on later in the week.

The text commits the party to "support all options remaining on the table including campaigning for a public vote" but makes clear that Labour would prefer a general election.

Follow live updates...

On another busy day, Mr McDonnell also announced plans to give workers a 10 per cent stake in their companies.

The shadow chancellor said his proposal for "inclusive ownerships funds" would make employees up to £500 a year better off.


Welcome to The Independent's live coverage from Liverpool on the second day of Labour's annual conference.

Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 08:14

John McDonnell has just told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he agrees with Len McCluskey, who yesterday said any new Brexit referendum should not include the option of remaining in the EU.

The shadow chancellor said:

"My view at the moment is that Parliament will decide what will be on the ballot paper. We'll be arguing that it should be a vote on the deal itself, and then enable us to go back and do the negotiations.

"The issue now is that, if we are going to respect the last referendum, it will be about the deal, it will be a negotiation on the deal. That's why I'd rather have a general election because we can have that, we can then not just discuss the deal, we can also discuss the team that will negotiate it.

"We're respecting the referendum. We want a general election. If we can't get that, we'll have a People's Vote on the deal itself and whether we can negotiate a better one."

Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 08:25
Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 08:35

Elsewhere on his morning media round, John McDonnell told LBC that Labour was likely to vote against whatever deal Theresa May negotiates with Brussels.

He said:

"On the deal that is likely to come out of Brussels under Theresa May at the moment, I can't see what she has proposed so far would protect jobs and the economy and I would vote against it and I'll vote against it in Parliament as well.

"But we'll see what she comes back with. Things might change, I can't see it though at the moment.

"It doesn't look good in terms of the proposals that she put forward, I just don't think they are workable."

Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 08:44
Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 08:58

A new split is already opening up among Labour MPs - this time over what question should be asked in any future Brexit referendum.

Senior Labour figures have said a public vote should only be on the terms of Brexit, meaning there would not be an option on the ballot paper to remain in the EU.

Anti-Brexit MPs like David Lammy and Chuka Umunna don't like the sound of that...

Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 09:14

The big drama here in Liverpool came late last night, when more than 100 delegates spent six hours in a stuffy room hammering out the Brexit motion that the conference will vote on on Tuesday.

Here's our full story on the outcome, which could shift Labour's policy towards backing for a public vote...

Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 09:36

John Healey, the shadow housing secretary, is currently speaking from the conference podium.

He says 120,000 children are currently sleeping in temporary, hostel-type accommodation because their family is homeless.

"To our national shame, these numbers have risen every year since 2010."

He promises the next Labour government will be "the most radical government on housing" since the Labour government after the Second World War, which built millions of new council homes.

Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 10:31

We’re expecting John McDonnell to speak around 12.15 - before then we’ll have speeches from other key members of the shadow cabinet. Stay tuned!

Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 10:33

John Healey says previous Labour leaders have not prioritised housing enough but "for nearly 40 years in politics housing policy has been Jeremy Corbyn's top domestic priority".

He confirms Labour will set up a full housing department, end rough sleeping within the next Parliament, control rents and end no-fault evictions.

And he gets a huge cheer when promising "to get councils building council housing again".

Kristin Hugo24 September 2018 10:41

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