Labour Brexit secretary says second referendum is ‘on the table’

Keir Starmer dismissed claims ‘civil disobedience’ would come from a second Brexit referendum

Britain’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

Britain’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

 

The UK opposition Labour party’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said his party may back a second referendum if parliament votes down the prime minister’s plan.

A second referendum should be “on the table”, Mr Starmer told BBC Radio 4. He said the talks with the EU are “going badly” and the publication of the documents on how to prepare for a no deal is a sign the government is “moving into panic mode”.

Mr Starmer dismissed claims a second referendum would cause “civil disobedience” which were made by Labour colleague Barry Gardiner, shadow international trade secretary.

He said: “A no deal Brexit would be a complete failure by the government to negotiate for Britain. These documents should not distract us from that. “No deal would be catastrophic for people’s jobs, the economy and for the border in Northern Ireland. It is irresponsible for anyone to casualise no deal.”

The British government will on Thursday publish the first batch of technical notices advising citizens and businesses on how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

A survey this month by the Institute of Directors, a business lobby group, found that fewer than a third of company bosses had carried out contingency planning on Brexit.

“’No deal’ preparations should have happened far earlier, and the onus is on government to move quickly and give businesses as much detailed technical information as possible to avoid significant disruption in any scenario,” Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said before the publication of the advice notices.

Customs and tax procedures, immigration rules and how to process transactions are among the things companies need more information from government on, Marshall said. – Reuters