Corbyn’s Brexit stance backed at Labour conference

Jeremy Corbyn survived a Labour revolt over Brexit as the party's conference backed his policy of remaining neutral until after a general election.

The Labour leader has promised that a government he leads will negotiate a new Brexit deal and put it to a referendum but he has resisted calls to say how the party should campaign in that public vote.

Delegates at the conference in Brighton backed a statement setting out his position and broke out into a chorus of "oh, Jeremy Corbyn" after the result of the vote was announced.

32 PHOTOS
Labour Party Conference
See Gallery
Labour Party Conference
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts to the speech of shadow chancellor John McDonnell during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott speaks in a fringe event on the third day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Picture dated: Monday September 23, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer delivers his speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union, gestures while sitting in the audience during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Delegates react during voting on Labour's Brexit policy during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell (left) with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, after delivering his speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell addressing delegates on the third day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Picture dated: Monday September 23, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry delivers her speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
A delegate listens to speeches during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the stage after a speech by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott on the second day of the Labour Party conference on September 22, 2019 in Brighton, England. Labour return to Brighton for the 2019 conference against a backdrop of political turmoil over Brexit. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Tom Watson MP outside the Labour Party Conference.
Jeremy Corbyn during a walk around the trade stalls at the Labour Party Conference.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry at the Anti-Brexit 'Trust the People' march and rally during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.
Jeremy Corbyn during a walk around the trade stalls at the Labour Party Conference.
Diane Abbott addressing the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre, Brighton.
Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn on stage at the Labour Party Conference.
Jeremy Corbyn with (left to right) Chris Webb, Director of Communications for the Communication Workers Union, and Dave Ward, General Secretary for the CWU, during a visit to the CWU radio station at the Labour Party Conference.
Extinction Rebellion protesters - accompanied by a boat - have blocked a street in Brighton as they demonstrate outside the Labour Party conference.
Labour party deputy leader Tom Watson speaks to journalists on Brighton seafront during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only EDITORIAL USE ONLY Handout photo issued by the BBC of (left to right) Andrew Marr and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show in Brighton.
For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only EDITORIAL USE ONLY Handout photo issued by the BBC of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show in Brighton.
An Anti Brexit protester on Brighton beach during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Protestors during the Anti-Brexit 'Trust the People' march and rally held by the People???s Vote campaign during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the The World Transformed (TWT) opening rally at the Old Steine Gardens during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 21, 2019. See PA story LABOUR Main . Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer at the Anti-Brexit 'Trust the People' march and rally held by the People�s Vote campaign during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 21, 2019. See PA story LABOUR Main. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Jeremy Corbyn on stage during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry (fourth left) at the Anti-Brexit 'Trust the People' march and rally during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.
Mugs for sale during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
A man waves an EU flag during the Anti-Brexit 'Trust the People' march and rally held by the People???s Vote campaign during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.
Jeremy Corbyn, walking along the promenade, arrives for the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 21, 2019. See PA story LABOUR Main. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Sue Hayman MP, visits the Community Kitchen where she takes part in media opportunity which involved a demonstration of 'Toasting Seeds' on September 22, 2019 in Brighton, England. Labour return to Brighton for the 2019 conference against a backdrop of political turmoil over Brexit. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
BRIGHTON ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22 Tom Watson, Deputy leader and Labour MP for West Bromich East speaks at the Labour First Rally Fringe event at the 2019 Labour Party conference on September 22, 2019 in Brighton, England. England. Labour return to Brighton for the 2019 conference against a backdrop of political turmoil over Brexit. (Photo by Nicola Tree/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In chaotic scenes, the conference then rejected a motion which would have called on Labour to come out in support of Remain now rather than waiting until after an election.

The result is a boost for Mr Corbyn, who has argued that Labour should go into the expected general election without making a decision on how it should campaign on the referendum his party has promised within six months of taking office.

A decision on how the party would campaign in the referendum would be taken at a subsequent special conference.

The vote came after shadow cabinet ministers Emily Thornberry and Sir Keir Starmer both used their keynote conference speeches to say they would back Remain.

After delegates backed a statement from the ruling National Executive Committee in favour of Mr Corbyn's position, a vote followed on composite 13 – which called for Labour to "campaign energetically" for a second referendum and to stay in the EU in such a public vote.

It was announced this motion was defeated following a show of hands among delegates allowed to vote.

Wendy Nichols, who was chairing the afternoon session of Labour conference, said there was disagreement in the group on stage looking at proceedings.

As delegates cast their votes, the chairwoman Ms Nichols could be seen having a discussion with Labour general secretary Jennie Formby.

Announcing the result, Ms Nichols said: "Sorry I thought it was one way... and Jennie said something else, so.

"Yes, that was lost."

Further confusion followed, with Ms Nichols reiterating the motion was rejected despite appeals for a formal card vote by some members.

Andrew Lewin, of the Remain Labour campaign, said the party now faced going into a general election without a clear position.

He told the PA news agency: "We are going to be unable to answer the question 'are you for Remain or Leave'.

"Obviously, lots of good people and senior people like Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry etc. are going to say individually, but that's not what the public will see.

"The public will see the leader – and therefore by definition a party – that can't make its mind up and I think that will be really damaging."

SNP Europe and foreign affairs spokesman Stephen Gethins said: "Jeremy Corbyn is stuck firmly on the fence, refusing to come down – and today's votes show the rest of the Labour Party is happy to stay there. This is a real abdication of leadership.

"It beggars belief that more than three years after the EU referendum, and knowing the damage Brexit will do, Labour is still arguing over its position."

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS