Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has confirmed that the Labour Party will now support a second referendum after the party’s alternative Brexit plan was defeated in the House of Commons.
Corbyn, who is thought to have been encouraged to call for the second vote by senior colleagues on the shadow front bench, said:
“We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no deal outcome. We will also continue to push for the other available options to prevent those outcomes, including a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election.”
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, has said in an interview with the BBC that a second vote on Brexit may now be “inevitable”. He said that the Labour Party would prefer a General Election, but said that in the event that the party couldn’t force an election, they would likely be in favour of a second referendum to clear the deadlock.
McDonnell said that he would vote to remain in any second vote, but that he didn’t feel that the outcome would be inevitable. He said to the BBC:
“So, the caution for them and for all of us, whichever argument you put, is the people will decide. As we saw in the last referendum, it’s very difficult to predict which way the people will decide on this. I’ve seen a lot of polls that have said there has been a shift from Leave to Remain. I’ve also seen other polls saying actually we’re just about the same as we were then”.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, criticised the plan saying that a second vote by the British electorate was “an attempt to overthrow the will of the people”.