Brexit: Labour will NOT support tonight's vote for a second referendum

The Labour Party will NOT back an amendment tonight which would see MPs call for a second referendum on Britain leaving the EU.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said the party would not whip MPs to support Independent MP Sarah Wollaston ‘s amendment tonight.

The Mirror understands Labour whips will instruct MPs to abstain.

Responding to a question from Anna Soubry in the House of Commons he said: "Many colleagues in and out of this place absolutely supportive of the cause she supports – namely a people’s vote – vehemently disagree with this amendment being tabled and voted on today."

"The People’s Vote campaign…have issued a formal statement of their position today in response to amendment H, saying “we have made it clear that we do not regard today as the right time to press the case for the public to be given a final say.

Keir Starmer was heckled by MPs who will be backing the amendment

 

“Instead this is the time for Parliament to declare it wants an extension of the article 50 Brexit deadline, so that after two and a half years of vexed negotiations, our political leaders can finally decide on what Brexit means.

"Those pressing this amendment seem to be out of step with the vast majority of co-campaigners campaigning for exactly the same cause.

"They may genuinely have a difference of opinion, but we will not be supporting H tonight."

Labour made the admission after Mr Starmer was questioned by former Tory MP Anna Soubry

Ms Soubry had asked Mr Starmer asked about his party’s official Brexit policy in the Commons, arguing it has "now changed again".

She said Labour had agreed at last year’s conference to push for their own version of leaving the EU, then a general election, and if neither happened then back a public vote.

"Now it seems his party’s policy is to compromise with the Government to facilitate Brexit," Ms Soubry added.

His decision was met with anger from some MPs – with SNP members shouting "shame" at Labour’s Brexit Secretary.

Campaigners have been lobbying for the vote – but now don’t want it

 

Westminster SNP leader Ian Blackford accused Mr Starmer’s party of being "a fraud" for failing to back another referendum.

He said: "I say to him, our friend and colleague, we have that opportunity with the amendment today to express the views of people in the House of Commons that we must have a People’s Vote.

"I implore him not to stand against the amendment today or I’m afraid that Labour will be found out for what they are – a fraud and they are participating in Brexit happening if they fail to back the People’s Vote this afternoon."

SNP Leader said Keir Starmer was ‘a fraud’

Mr Starmer dismissed Mr Blackford with "great rhetoric, no substance" before explaining Labour’s position "has been clear".

Labour’s decision comes after the People’s Vote campaign – who have been leading calls for the public to have a final say – said they also didn’t want the vote to happen tonight.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “The People’s Vote campaign does not instruct its supporters in Parliament on how to vote.

"We recognise there is a range of opinions on when to press the case for the public being given the final say, which means some of these MPs will vote for the Wollaston amendment, some may vote against, and some will abstain."

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