Labour gives conditional support for vote on Brexit
Labour’s National Executive Committee met to decide the wording of its manifesto for the May 23 European election and rejected the idea of campaigning for a referendum under all circumstances. It is a policy supported by deputy leader Tom Watson MP and many party members. Watson has pushed for an unconditional commitment to a people’s vote.
A party source said the decision was “will be fully in line with Labour’s existing policy”.
But the party said it would demand a people’s vote if it could not get changes to the government’s deal or a general election.
A Labour spokesman said the party was “the only party which represents both people who supported leave and remain. We are working to bring the country together after the chaos and crisis created by the Tories.”
The committee oversees the overall direction of the party and is made up of representatives including front-bench MPs, councillors and trade unionists.
A party source said: “The NEC agreed the manifesto which will be fully in line with Labour’s existing policy to support Labour’s alternative plan and if we can’t get the necessary changes to the government’s deal, or a general election, to back the option of a public vote.”
Pro-EU Labour MPs have reacted positively to the decision although some fear it may not go far enough.
Wes Streeting tweeted that the committee had “made the right call and confirmed that a public vote will be in our manifesto for the European elections”. Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP said the pledge was “not as strong” as he would like.
The option for changes to the government’s policy appears to be about to end, only leaving a general election.
Cross-party talks have been going on for weeks. De-facto deputy prime minister David Lidington claimed they had been “positive” and “productive” but little has been achieved.
May’s government is a consensus with Labour to help get its unpopular Brexit deal through parliament.
She says she still hopes to leave the European Union before the European elections on May 23.
Government sources said that if Labour agreed not to block May’s withdrawal agreement again, she would bring it back for a fourth parliamentary vote.
A people’s vote could end the Brexit crisis. Picture credit: Eurasia Times