Keir Starmer has said that Remain would be an option if Labour offered a 2nd Referendum, in direct contradiction to statements made by the Shadow Chancellor this morning.
John McDonnell had said Labour would aim to “respect the last referendum” if it throws weight behind a second vote, and instead hinted that the party would call for a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote on the Government’s deal.
“We’re respecting the referendum. We want a general election. If we can’t get that we’ll have a People’s Vote… The People’s Vote will be on the deal itself and we can negotiate a better deal.”
However, Labour’s Brexit secretary today stated that Remain as an option had not been ruled out. Starmer was ambushed by journalists at Labour’s conference and stated:
“The meeting last night was very clear that the question of a public vote should be open. We weren’t ruling out options, and no one was ruling out remain
NEW Keir Starmer – eventually – slaps down John McDonnell after being ambushed and followed halfway round Labour conference by Michael Crick. Says no one ruled out remain being an option in a Brexit vote. Full story very soon pic.twitter.com/018mieI2oc
— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) September 24, 2018
This continues a theme of contradictory statements made by Labour Shadow Ministers about Brexit.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey warned Labour against offered a 2nd referendum with a remain option, saying such a move could alienate “significant numbers of traditional Labour supporters”. McCluskey believed the same as McDonnell that any such vote should just be on the deal.
The Labour conference will be having a vote on Labour’s Brexit policy, with a motion being submitted that, in part, reads:
“If we cannot get a General Election, Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”
Whilst Corbyn has said he will accept the outcome of such vote there is debate on what this means in terms of options in a public vote.