Labour set to back a second referendum on ‘damaging Tory Brexit’

Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour Women's Conference in Telford

Without support from the Labour Party, there is little chance of a second referendum taking place.

The party has previously said it would support a referendum as a last resort if it could not secure a new election or make changes to Prime Minister Theresa May's European Union divorce deal.

No date has been set for the next round of votes, but Theresa May has said that she will put her Brexit deal to the vote on 12 March.

With the threat of further resignations by and the party losing support in the polls, Mr Corbyn told a meeting of his parliamentarians that Labour would "do everything in our power to prevent No Deal and oppose a damaging Tory Brexit based on Theresa May's overwhelmingly rejected deal".

The amendment, put forward by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin, aims to delay the UK's exit date from the European Union by extending Article 50 if a deal is not agreed by Parliament by March 13.

She said: "We will have a referendum on whatever deal that may or may not pass through Parliament and we would be saying to the people 'Do you want this or do you want to Remain?'"

And Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who had talks with Mrs May in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Monday, said the United Kingdom needed to "wake up".

"If Parliament rejects our plan, then Labour will deliver on the promise we made at our annual conference and support a public vote", Starmer said in a tweet.

"Commons majority against second referendum is about 50", he said.

"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".

That amendment may not come at this week's vote in parliament however. Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell estimated that there would be 25 Labour MPs who would simply not support a second referendum, regardless of how a motion backing it would be phrased. The question now is whether May will - either willingly or by force via the new Cooper amendment - replace her "my deal or no deal" ultimatum with a new choice: "my deal or delay Brexit, possibly for many, many months".

Last night the shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said Labour would seek a "deal or remain" referendum. When asked about the amendment, a Labour source repeated that the party "would not vote for a damaging Tory Brexit".

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "A referendum with no remain option would be ludicrous".

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