Second referendum could be ‘healing process’ for Brexit

UK Labour leader favours ballot on public vote on outcome of talks and negotiations

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn: “Quite honestly, the government has to move its red lines ...” Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn: “Quite honestly, the government has to move its red lines ...” Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

 

Jeremy Corbyn has said a second referendum on Brexit could be “a healing process” that could bring “this whole process to a conclusion”. Speaking at the launch of Labour’s campaign for the European Parliament elections, Mr Corbyn said his party’s plan for a soft Brexit could unite the country.

But he said that if Labour failed to get “a sensible deal” or trigger a general election, it would support another referendum.

“The view we put forward . . . was that we should include the option of having a ballot on a public vote on the outcome of the talks and negotiations on what we’re putting forward. I would want that to be seen as a healing process, and bringing this whole process to a conclusion,” he said.

‘People together’

“Nothing is easy in this. But our essential message has to be to bring people together and that’s the basis on which we’ve approached both what we’ve done in parliament and in the negotiations itself.”

Talks between the government and Labour about a common position on Brexit continued on Thursday and will resume next Monday. But Mr Corbyn said that the government could not expect to pass a meaningful vote (MV) on its Brexit deal without shifting its red lines.

“The talks that we are having with the government have been difficult because the government is in some degree of disarray itself. They are still ongoing. Our point is that we want to protect jobs, protect trade and protect those rights that we have obtained. We met again yesterday and there will be a further meeting coming up,” he said.

Red lines

“But, quite honestly, the government has to move its red lines. We cannot go on having MV1, MV2, MV3 and then coming on for possibly an MV4, or a Bill that we have yet to actually see. So we will continue with that. If not, the issue has to come back to parliament at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Theresa May on Thursday hosted DUP leader Arlene Foster, deputy leader Nigel Dodds and chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson for what Downing Street described as “a private, political lunch” at Chequers.

“This was a useful opportunity to remind the prime minister that we want to see the Northern Ireland Assembly restored and the referendum result delivered in a way which strengthens the union,” a DUP spokesman said.

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