Jeremy Corbyn has finally thrown his party’s weight behind a second EU referendum, backing moves for a fresh poll with remain on the ballot paper if Labour should fail to get its own version of a Brexit deal passed this week.
The decision to give the party’s backing to a second referendum comes after a concerted push by shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and deputy leader Tom Watson, who fear any further delay could have led to a slew of further defections to the new breakaway Independent Group (TIG), whose members all back a second referendum.
Although the move has delighted MPs who are backing the People’s Vote campaign, Corbyn is also likely to face determined opposition from dozens of MPs in leave seats if the party whips to back a second referendum, including a significant number of front benchers.
Former shadow minister Lucy Powell said she believed at least 25 MPs would vote against any whip to back a second referendum, meaning that it would face an uphill struggle to pass the Commons without significant Conservative support. [Continue reading…]