- New grassroots Labour movement calls on Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum on Brexit.
- Labour For A People’s Vote, unveiled on Monday, wants the Labour leadership to block Theresa May’s Brexit deal and support a referendum on staying in the European Union.
- The group is supported by 62 local Labour parties and left-wing figures like John McDonnell’s advisor.
- Corbyn is trying to juggle the party’s pro-Remain membership and Labour-held constituencies which voted Leave.
LONDON – Jeremy Corbyn is coming under increasing pressure to back a second referendum after a grassroots campaign led by Labour members calling for the party to oppose Brexit was unveiled on Monday.
The group, called Labour For A People’s Vote, claims to have the support of 62 local Labour parties and thousands of party members across the country. It will be launched in Sheffield, Yorkshire next week.
It calls on the Labour leadership to block Theresa May’s Brexit deal if it fails to meet the party’s six “tests” and then campaign for a referendum on whether Britain should U-turn and stay in the European Union.
The 62 local parties who support of Labour For A People’s Vote are all set to put forward a motion urging Corbyn to “to oppose Tory Brexit and win a radical Labour government” ahead of the party’s annual conference in September.
This follows the launch of a petition by Alena Ivanova, member of pro-Corbyn group Momentum, which asks Momentum members whether there should be a vote on a second referendum at Labour conference later this year.
Labour’s current Brexit policy is to stay in a customs union with the EU and negotiate a close single market relationship with the bloc after Britain has left. However, it does not support a second referendum.
The vast majority of Labour members back a referendum on the terms of the final deal but the party leadership is wary of upsetting Labour-held constituencies which voted Leave in the 2016 referendum.
Mike Buckley, the Labour Party campaigner who set up Labour For A People’s Vote, said: “Whether people voted Leave or Remain in 2016 they all voted for what they thought was a better future for them and their families.
“But the Tories’ Brexit deal will cost jobs, close businesses, and put at risk our NHS, workers’ rights and global alliances.”
He added: “The people deserve a chance to give their verdict on the Tories’ failed negotiation – only Labour can make that happen.”
The new group is backed by various left-wing figures including Ann Pettifor, an advisor to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
One of the group’s supporters is Michael Chessum, an activist who worked on Corbyn’s second Labour leadership campaign. He said: “We are setting up this campaign as socialists and as left-wing activists in the Labour Party. We have no interest in undermining the current leadership – quite the opposite.
“Tory Brexit would be a disaster for the prospects of a radical Labour government – it would deregulate and shrink the economy and attack working class people and migrants. We cannot ignore that any longer – and many people who are not die-hard Remainers will be reaching the same conclusion.”
On Saturday, an estimated 100,000 people marched through central London, calling for a “People’s Vote” – a nationwide referendum on the terms of any Brexit deal May brings back to Westminster later this year.
Some demonstrators chanted “where’s Jeremy Corbyn?” amid the belief among some anti-Brexit campaigners that the Labour leader is not doing enough to oppose the Conservative government’s handling of Brexit.
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