More Labour MPs join campaign to force Corbyn to back new Brexit referendum

GettyJeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell
  • More Labour MPs come out for a second Brexit referendum in bid to pressure Labour leader into backing a People’s Vote.
  • Half a dozen Labour MPs joined calls for a new referendum on Wednesday morning.
  • Jeremy Corbyn has resisted calls to back a second vote with aides suggesting the party could lose the next general election if they are forced into supporting one.
  • Labour has scheduled a no confidence vote in Theresa May’s government for Wednesday evening.
  • However, Labour is forecast to lose the vote, heaping more pressure on Corbyn to get behind a referendum.

LONDON – More Labour MPs have declared their support for a new Brexit referendum as they battle to pressure Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn into throwing his weight behind a new public vote.

A group of 71 Labour MPs and 13 Members of the European Parliament gathered outside Westminster on Wednesday morning to call on Corbyn to back what campaigners call a People’s Vote.

Labour MPs who were unveiled as new supporters of the campaign included former frontbenchers Debbie Abrahams and Lilian Greenwood. The other newcomers were John Grogan, Graham Jones, Stephen Morgan and Matt Western.

Not all Labour MPs who have declared support for a new referendum were on the list published on Wednesday morning. Pro-Remain sources in Labour say that in total over 100 Labour MPs support a new referendum.

The intervention came after the House of Commons roundly rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday evening.

In a signed statement, the group called on Corbyn to back a second vote at this “unprecedented an perilous moment in our history.”

“We must try and remove this government as soon as possible,” the MPs state.

“But the removal of the government and pushing for a general election may prove impossible, so we must join trade unions, our members and the majority of our constituents by then unequivocally backing the only logical option to help our country move forward: putting the decision back to the people for a final say.”

The Labour leader is officially committed to leaving the option of a second referendum on the table but has so far resisted growing calls to explicitly back one.

Sources close to the Labour leader told Business Insider in December that the party had conducted private polling and focus groups in target marginal seats which suggested that the party could lose the next general election if they back a People’s Vote.

Despite this Corbyn is under huge pressure to back a new referendum from a growing number of Labour MPs and the vast majority of the party’s overwhelmingly pro-EU membership.

Labour’s current Brexit policy – agreed at its most recent party conference – is to force a snap general election, win it, and then go ahead with the UK’s exit from the EU on terms negotiated by a newly-elected Labour government.

However, if that fails, Labour is also committed to leaving all options on the table, including a “public vote” in the form of a second referendum.

The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday that while there was “strong support” in the party for another referendum, their priority was forcing an early general election.

The numbers announced today fall well short of those needed for a majority in the House of Commons for a second referendum.

Senior campaigners for a People’s Vote told Business Insider last week that it’s “game over” if the pro-referendum movement cannot persuade the Labour leader to get on board.

Read the statement from Labour MPs backing a People’s Vote

This is an unprecedented and perilous moment in our history. With this Tory Government in chaos and with the jobs and security of our constituents on the line – we strongly support the Labour decision to reject Theresa May’s “deal”.

We were appalled at her anti-democratic moves to prevent Parliament having a vote, and to run down the clock by delaying it until mid-January. This was an utterly irresponsible decision, and gambling with the jobs and livelihoods of our constituents.

The Tory Government approach has been disastrous since day one. Their plans would lead to more austerity, fewer jobs and less money for our public services. This is not what anyone voted for in 2016.

We represent hugely diverse constituencies from the North to the South, from Wales to Scotland. Many of our constituencies voted to Leave in 2016. We must listen to and respond to the reasons why people did so. But we now face a moment of national crisis, where the facts and the views of many people have changed – and are continuing to change.

It is now clear renegotiation is not a realistic prospect. No deal would be a catastrophe which we must resolutely oppose. The Government should seek an extension to Article 50 to provide time for Parliament to find a way forward. Theresa May has failed to bring this country back together. Labour’s conference adopted a clear policy for this situation. We must try and remove this Government from office as soon as possible. But the removal of the Government and pushing for a General Election may prove impossible, so we must join Trade Unions, our members and a majority of our constituents by then unequivocally backing the only logical option to help our country move forward: putting the decision back to the people for a final say, in a public vote, with the option to stay and keep the deal that we have.

Defeat of the Tory deal in a public vote would give us all a chance to campaign for the antiausterity policies and a Labour government that deals with the true causes of the Brexit vote, and a reformed Europe that works for all people. MPs

1.Debbie Abrahams MP 2. Rushanara Ali MP 3. Tonia Antoniazzi MP 4. Luciana Berger MP 5. Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP 6. Roberta Blackman-Woods MP 7. Ben Bradshaw MP 8. Karen Buck MP 9. Chris Bryant MP 10. Ruth Cadbury MP 11. Ann Clwyd MP 12. Ann Coffey MP 13. Neil Coyle MP 14. Mary Creagh MP 15. Alex Cunningham MP 16. Janet Daby MP 17. Geraint Davies MP 18. Stephen Doughty MP 19. Rosie Duffield MP 20. Louise Ellman MP 21. Mike Gapes MP 22. Kate Green MP 23. Lillian Greenwood MP 24. John Grogan MP 25. Rupa Huq MP 26. Margaret Hodge MP 27. Darren Jones MP 28. Maria Eagle MP 29. Susan Elan Jones MP 30. Julie Elliott MP 31. Graham Jones MP 32. Liz Kendall MP 33. Ged Killen MP 34. Peter Kyle MP 35. David Lammy MP 36. Chris Leslie MP 37. Seema Malhotra MP 38. Kerry McCarthy MP 39. Siobhan McDonagh MP 40. Pat McFadden MP 41. Conor McGinn MP 42. Alison McGovern MP 43. Anna McMorrin MP 44. Catherine McKinnell MP 45. Madeleine Moon MP 46. Stephen Morgan MP 47. Ian Murray MP 48. Albert Owen MP 49. Bridget Phillipson MP 50. Jess Phillips MP 51. Ellie Reeves MP 52. Rachel Reeves MP 53. Joan Ryan MP 54. Virendra Sharma MP 55. Barry Sheerman MP 56. Gavin Shuker MP 57. Tulip Siddiq MP 58. Andy Slaughter MP 59. Angela C. Smith MP 60. Owen Smith MP 61. Jo Stevens MP 62. Wes Streeting MP 63. Gareth Thomas MP 64. Stephen Timms MP 65. Anna Turley MP 66. Chuka Umunna MP 67. Matt Western MP 68. Martin Whitfield MP 69. Paul Williams MP 70. Phil Wilson MP 71. Daniel Zeichner MP

MEPs

1. Richard Corbett MEP (Leader of EPLP / Shadow Cabinet) 2. Derek Vaughan MEP 3. Seb Dance MEP 4. Paul Brannen MEP 5. Catherine Stihler MEP 6. Wajid Khan MEP 7. Julie Ward MEP 8. Clare Moody MEP 9. John Howarth MEP 10. Theresa Griffin MEP 11. Jude Kirton Darling MEP 12. David Martin MEP 13. Mary Honeyball MEP

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