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The British opposition is taking a clear stand in favour of a repeat referendum on the UK’s EU membership, in which the Labour party will back the option to remain a member of the EU.
The evolved position of the Labour party constitutes a difficult choice that requires the Labour Party to make a decision that will be opposed in certain constituencies, especially in the North of England. However, there was an equal and perhaps more significant cost in Labour’s middle-of-the-road stance: the party had seen defections from its parliamentary group and, as the recent European Parliament elections make clear, a significant number of voters opted for clearly pro-Remain parties.
The leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn, called on the next British Prime Minister to hold a second referendum before taking the UK out of the European Union, making clear he would campaign for remain, just as he did in the 2016 referendum.
In an interview with the BBC, Corbyn argues that Labour’s new evolved position is the result of “consultation” with the shadow cabinet, MPs, affiliated unions and the NEC (national executive committee). In a letter to the party’s membership, the Labour leader recognizes that a no-deal Brexit threatened by both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt “does not protect the economy and jobs.”
Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said that “campaigning for remain … is a really important point of principle,” Twitting that this position has the support of trade unions, party members, and the shadow cabinet.
Former Labour MP Chris Leslie said the party’s new position “wasn’t good enough” as it does not clarify what a Labour government would do if it came to office, noting that Brexit will cost jobs and business no matter which government is handling it. The Liberal Democrat’s Brexit spokesperson, Tom Brake, said Labour “are still a party of Brexit.”