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Analysis

Corbyn under increasing pressure to back People’s Vote

by Luke Lythgoe | 28.08.2018

In the run up to next month’s Labour conference, party members, unions and Momentum supporters are calling for a People’s Vote at the end of the Brexit process. Labour voters –  and potential supporters – wants one too. If Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t back the idea, he risks being seriously out of step with his party.

Here’s our run-down of the main flashpoints over the next critical month.

September 1: Momentum’s National Co-ordinating Group meets

Momentum’s governing body will meet on Saturday to discuss a petition signed by over 4,000 members calling for it to canvas members’ opinions on Brexit – including whether to demand a public vote. Momentum played a key role in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership bid.

September 9-12: TUC Congress

Two motions will be tabled calling for the TUC to back a public vote on Brexit – one from the Transport Salaried Staff Association and another from the Royal College of Midwives (see pages 19-20). The TUC represents the majority of the country’s trade unions.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

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Shadow cabinet struggle

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer on Thursday stressed that “all options should be on the table”, including a vote on the final Brexit deal – or lack of one. This was at odds with his shadow cabinet colleague Barry Gardiner two days previously, who opposed a vote on the basis that it would be “really damaging” for democracy and could lead to “social disruption, perhaps civil disobedience”. John McDonnell tried to put a lid on things by agreeing with both Gardiner’s warnings but also Starmer’s statement that all options remained on the table. Corbyn meanwhile has refused to address the Brexit issue at all – six times, in fact, in this painful Channel 4 interview.

Labour voters want a People’s Vote

The party’s core supporters want a public vote, according to a series of YouGov polls for the People’s Vote:

  • 61% of Labour voters support a public vote once negotiations with the EU conclude, with only 19% opposed.
  • 59% of Labour’s target voters – those who do not back the party now but say they “might” or “would seriously consider” it – want a vote on Brexit;
  • The North East has seen a 16 percentage point shift away from Brexit, with Labour supporters driving the move – over half of Labour supporters in the region support a People’s Vote.

September 23-26: Labour Party Conference

With luck, Corbyn will see the light by the time of his party conference. A debate on Brexit is scheduled for the morning of Tuesday 25. The People’s Vote campaign will also be holding a “March for the Many” in Liverpool – the city hosting the conference – on Sunday 23. You can sign up to be part of it here.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

3 Responses to “Corbyn under increasing pressure to back People’s Vote”

  • The Corbyn interview on Channel 4 is extraordinary. As Mrs May was unable to say how she would vote in the event of another referendum, so Mr Corbyn refuses to answer the question put to him 5/6 times as to whether the UK would be better off outside the EU. One can only hope that the general public in the UK who see this interview will draw the necessary conclusion.
    It is also interesting that Mr Corbyn in talking about the EU speaks only about our trading relationships ( with a single word on the environment and employee rights ). So for him the EU is basically about trade. Very revealing but desperately depressing that this man could be the next PM. Not to say that we are much better off with Mrs May.Where is the young talent in either political party ?

  • I have no doubt that had Corbyn been an honest remainer rather than a cowardly pretender at a time when his control of the party was weaker than now, brexit would not have happened. Seeing the cameron vote coming down the tracks, then thinking of corbyn, it was rather predictable. Clarke says he’s a a hard brexiter, and Clarke isn’t one to throw baseless accusations. And this is the man, with his history of rebellions, support for terrorism, and mediocre opinions, who now leads labour. When we are suffering a government of unparallelled incompetence and face straitened circumstances of every kind, and all in aid of keeping the verminous tory party united (as if!), this man manages to collect now and again a few percentage points over the tory government. I agree with Adonis that this is not a socialist country but come to different conclusions to him – he thinks people should cleave to Corbyn for fear of something much worse and much more tory. I fear things have to get much worse before they can get better. We are in a sad place, with two weak, ideologically driven and untalented party leaders; we will have years of repenting at leisure.

  • Corbyn needs to wake up and accept the wealth of variety that comes with the EU. It is not just trade, the free movement of people leads to less fear and hate through contact and understanding and empathy. Just do not put the most needy in the UK in competition for services and accommodation with migrant workers. It is time for the standard of living to rise and Corbyn could do that if he were not asleep at the wheel. They also must not continue to be manipulated through the antisemitism issue which is being kept alive to divide and destroy labour.