Backing second Brexit referendum ‘pragmatic’ for Labour, shadow minister says

Backing a vote for second referendum on Brexit would be “pragmatic” and “sensible” for Labour, a shadow minister has said.

The spectre of a confirmatory vote has loomed large over Westminster since the referendum result in 2016, with calls made to put the issue of Britain’s departure from the bloc back to the people.

Parliament is expected to sit on Saturday and MPs would be able to back or reject any deal presented to them, or discuss what to do next in the Brexit saga.

Speaking on the Andrew Neil Show on the BBC, shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said she would expect the party to back a second vote to be added to any deal proposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Asked what she would want to happen after a deal is passed in the Commons, she told the programme: “The expectation would be… should a deal be tabled on Saturday, and we don’t know if that’s going to happen, but if it is, I am as sure as you can be that there will be an amendment tabled that would want to see a referendum attached to the deal. I would expect us to support that.

“I would rather have a general election but we are not in control on this.

“So should that opportunity come on Saturday, to have that referendum on a deal – the deal that we don’t know yet is going to be there – the pragmatic, sensible thing for the Labour party to do, given we’ve been asking for this, would be to take that opportunity.”

Sir Keir Starmer and Jenny Chapman
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and Jenny Chapman (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Liberal Democrats have put forward an amendment to the Queen’s Speech for Tuesday to test whether there is support for a second referendum.

And Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would “immediately legislate” to hold a second referendum if the party wins the next election.

Mr Corbyn told an audience in Northampton earlier this week that “Labour trusts the people to decide.”

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