As it happenedended1537723374

Labour conference - as it happened: Corbyn indicates shift in Brexit stance towards final say vote as gathering gets underway

All the latest updates from Labour conference, as they happened

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Sunday 23 September 2018 17:30
Jeremy Corbyn pledges to push for a second EU referendum if Labour members vote for it

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested Labour could shift towards backing a new referendum on the final deal as Brexit was set to dominate the party's annual conference.

The Labour leader said he would be prepared to change policy if party members backed a fresh vote but he believed a general election would be a better way to solve the crisis.

Mr Corbyn also vowed to join with rebel Tories to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit plans in parliament if they did not meet Labour’s tests, with The Independent revealing the party would then seek a motion of no confidence in the government "within days".

It comes as thousands of activists descended on Liverpool for the party's annual gathering, which is set to shine a spotlight on divisions over Brexit, handling of antisemitism allegations and changes to party rules.

See below for live updates


Welcome to The Independent's politics liveblog, brought to you from Labour's annual conference in Liverpool.

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 08:45

One of the big stories of the morning so far, Jeremy Corbyn has said he will back giving the British people a final say on Brexit in a new referendum if party members vote for it at Labour’s conference.

More here:

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 09:00

Here's our front page for today, where we have an exclusive story on Labour's plan to force a general election if Theresa May's Brexit deal is defeated. 

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 09:15

Shadow housing and communities minister Andrew Gwynne stopped short of repeating Mr Corbyn and Mr Watson's support for a people's vote if it is the wish of party members.

"Of course we're a democratic party, but before we get that we want a general election, because this government has made a complete fist of Brexit, they haven't been able to negotiate a deal," he told BBC Breakfast earlier.

He insisted that Labour does respect the 2016 referendum result, as spelled out in its 2017 manifesto.

"Ultimately we are not in control of this process right now. We want to be in control of that process," he said. "We want to negotiate a Labour Brexit."

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 09:21

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, said she had "reservations" about a new referendum as the government would "hold the pen" on the questions on the ballot paper.

She told Sky's Ridge on Sunday said Theresa May had "set out on the wrong foot" with the EU and criticised her "bullish" approach to the negotiations.

Asked if Labour's Brexit policy would mean uncontrolled migration, she said ending freedom of movement was "non-negotiable".

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 09:25

Rebecca Long-Bailey says she has never thought about standing to be deputy leader, as she is busy with her role.

Labour's ruling body has backed the creation of a second female deputy leader post. 

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 09:29

Tory MP Nicky Morgan is now up on Sky's Ridge on Sunday, saying that Theresa May's Brexit plan is a "non-starter".

She says there is a "sweet spot" between parliament and the EU on Brexit, and called for talks to continue.

The Treasury committee chair said she personally did not support a second referendum and condemned Labour for saying they would vote down Ms May's deal. "It's not in the national interest", she said.

She also said Ms May will not lead the party into the next election and anyone from Downing Street who thinks otherwise is wrong.

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 09:35

Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson is now talking to Sky News.

He says there are over 100 motions on Brexit and he wants to 'give the party back to its members'. It is not up to Corbyn and him to decide what the party does.

He says it would be 'inconceivable' not to put a second referendum in Labour's manifesto if the party voted on it at conference.

He said he would probably vote Remain if there was a new referendum - but would wait to see what the deal is.

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 09:52

Mr Watson is now answering questions on changes to the party rulebook.

He says 'now is the time' for a female leader of the Labour party, but he maintains that Corbyn is not standing down any time soon.

Asked about handling of antisemitism allegations, Mr Watson said the party had taken too long to act and he was "deeply ashamed". However he disagrees that the party is 'institutionally racist" as one of his Labour colleagues Chuka Umunna claimed.

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 09:58

That's it for Ridge. The BBC's Andrew Marr show is beginning now, where he is talking to Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

Lizzy Buchan23 September 2018 10:01

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