UK Labour leader Corbyn endorses Blairite call for second Brexit referendum
27 February 2019
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn announced Monday evening that he was ready to support a second referendum “to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country.”
The move came after months of pressure—intensified since Labour’s annual conference last September—from the Blairite wing of the party demanding that the party backs remaining in the European Union (EU).
Until now Corbyn has maintained, as per the policy agreed at its conference, that Labour intends to implement a soft-Brexit—maintaining tariff-free access to the Single European Market in the “national interest,” following a general election victory over the Tories. Only if that was not feasible would he back other options, including a “People’s Vote” second referendum.
The press release stated, “One way or another, we will do everything in our power to prevent No Deal and oppose a damaging Tory Brexit based on Theresa May’s overwhelmingly rejected deal. That’s why, in line with our conference policy, we are committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country.”
Corbyn has put an amendment forward that will be voted on this evening in parliament, setting out Labour’s Brexit plan. The failure of this amendment, rather than a demand for a general election, will bring support for a second referendum into play.
While Corbyn’s move doesn’t fundamentally alter the balance of political forces within the raging conflict in the ruling class over the outcome of Brexit, it confirms again that he will concede every demand made by the Blairites. The Blairites have made…