- A new report suggests Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is preparing to back a second Brexit referendum if May’s deal is defeated.
- However, sources close to Corbyn deny that he imminently plans to back another vote.
- One source close to Corbyn told Business Insider on Tuesday: “I’d steer you well away from this.”
- Labour officially remains open to another vote if all other options fail.
- The campaign for a “People’s Vote” believe Labour’s support is key to achieving one.
LONDON – ITV’s Robert Peston has published an interesting blog post this afternoon suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn is preparing to back a second Brexit referendum if and when Theresa May’s Brexit deal is defeated in the Commons.
He writes: “According to senior Labour sources, Corbyn is close to agreeing that shortly (days) after the loss of the meaningful vote by May, he would formally make his party the champion of another referendum or People’s Vote – on the basis that if there is no consensus in parliament on what comes next, the question has to go back to the people.”
However, the claim has been met with incredulity by those around Corbyn who insist that the Labour leader’s priority remains seeking a general election if May’s deal falls.
One source close to Corbyn told Business Insider on Tuesday: “I’d steer you well away from this.”
There are senior Labour figures, in particular deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who would like the leadership to back a People’s Vote.
But while Corbyn has publicly said that the possibility of another referendum will remain “on the table,” privately his team are a long way from being convinced that he should ever be the one leading the charge for one.
As a source close to Corbyn told me earlier this year: “If there has to be a second referendum at some point then let Theresa May call for it and take the hit from furious Leave voters.”
These are unpredictable times, and the consensus in Parliament and the Labour leadership could eventually switch towards a People’s Vote if and when all other parliamentary and electoral processes run out of road.
However, the claim that Corbyn will immediately lead the charge for a second vote, straight after May loses the vote on her deal, seems unlikely.