Corbyn faces revolt as pressure mounts over Brexit stance

Labour leader wants to delay decision on Remain until after general election held

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn at the party’s annual conference in Brighton, on Sunday.   Photograph: Daniel  Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn at the party’s annual conference in Brighton, on Sunday. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

 

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing a revolt over Brexit at his party’s annual conference in Brighton amid growing pressure on Labour to campaign for the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union.

Calling for a second referendum and a Labour Remain campaign, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said policy must be “thrashed out” this week at the conference ahead of an imminent general election.

However, Mr Corbyn and Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) wants to delay a decision until after a general election is held, fearing the loss of Brexit-supporting Labour voters.

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The NEC voted by 16 to 10 in favour of a statement calling for a Labour government to negotiate a new withdrawal agreement within three months and to put it to a referendum within six months.

Referendum

A special conference would decide what position the party should take in the referendum, which would be a choice between remaining in the EU or backing an exit deal but a no-deal Brexit would not be an option.

Labour’s debate over Brexit comes as British prime minister Boris Johnson prepares to meet some EU leaders, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr Johnson has been talking up the likelihood of a deal. However, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that a Northern Ireland-only solution to the Border could not go beyond the agrifood sector.

Such moves would go beyond the Good Friday agreement which everyone “wants to preserve”, said Mr Raab. “Fundamentally that’s democratically wrong.”

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