Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott would support a second referendum on the final terms of a Brexit deal, she has told constituents – despite official party policy.
In a letter obtained by The Guardian, the senior Labour MP wrote that “I will argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed.”
Her position comes despite Labour’s official position that there should not be a second referendum on Britain leaving the European Union. “A second referendum is not our policy and it won’t be in our manifesto,” a spokesperson for the party said during the 2017 election campaign.
Reached for comment by The Guardian, Abbott downplayed the significance of her remarks, calling them “poorly worded,” and argued they were in fact no different to Labour policy. “There is no important story here, just a poorly worded standard letter that was sent out. There is no difference at all between my position and official Labour party policy,” she said.
But Abbott isn’t the only senior Labour figure to flirt with the idea of a second Brexit referendum. Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has also previously refused to rule out a second referendum – though he has called the idea “highly unlikely.”
And in the run-up to the 2017 election, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the government should submit any final Brexit deal to Parliament “and possibly to the country overall.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan, too, has said it is “possible” that Labour’s next manifesto might include a promise to hold a second referendum.