Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Labour split looms over Brexit as Jeremy Corbyn backs a second referendum

Labour split looms over Brexit as Jeremy Corbyn backs a second referendum

Most of Corbyn's MPs and his younger supporters are in favor of the European Union, but many voters in the party's working-class heartlands back Brexit.

Corbyn and Labour are facing calls to back a second referendum, or "People's Vote", regarding Brexit, with Merseyside voting against leaving the EU.

At Labour's women's conference on Saturday, the party faced a fresh row after a frontbencher praised the Militant-dominated council which ran Liverpool in the 1980s.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has long opposed that idea, and a showdown on the issue looms at the party's annual conference, which starts Sunday in the port city of Liverpool. The slogan: "Love Corbyn, Hate Brexit" was emblazoned across many T-shirts and banners at the gathering.

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn has so far resisted calls to back a "People's Vote", or new referendum on the decision to quit the EU.

I was going to say something about how good it is being a Jew in the Labour party at the moment ... but someone told me you guys don't get irony.

"Labour have to come to a decision".

He spoke out after a survey revealed that 86 percent of Labour members would back another Brexit vote.

MPs and union leaders are expected to join a march on the opening day of the conference on Sunday to demand a so-called "People's Vote".

Margaret Mills, a delegate from Orpington in southern England, said her local party had passed a motion calling on Labour to "stop Brexit by any means - well, short of physical violence".

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Melanie Crowley, a dyslexia support tutor, also from Birmingham, said: "I think people were conned into Brexit and it would be bad for the country".

Corbyn's close ally, Len McCluskey, leader of Britain's biggest trade union Unite, told the BBC any such second referendum "shouldn't be on: 'do we want to go back into the European Union?'" as that had been answered in the 2016 referendum.

The Labour leader said today that he would prefer forcing a general election this autumn instead of a second referendum but promised to "adhere to what members want". "Obviously, I'm bound by the democracy of our party".

Deputy leader Tom Watson has also come out in support of the campaign, while more than 100 constituency parties have submitted motions calling for the issue to be put to a vote. "We want to negotiate a Labour Brexit".

Her previous attempt at securing public support for her Brexit negotiating strategy fell flat when the Conservatives lost their majority in the 2017 election.

Conservatives seized on their comments as a sign Labour was ready to seek to overturn the Leave vote in the 2016 referendum.

"And if this government can't deliver, then I simply say to Theresa May the best way to settle this is by having a general election".

"For Labour to adopt a second referendum policy would spell political disaster in all those Labour seats that voted leave", said Brendan Chilton of the pro-Brexit group Labour Leave.

The scandal has deepened the divisions between Corbyn's far-left supporters and the more centrist faction of MPs who held power in the party after Tony Blair took charge in 1994. He has denied it and condemned anti-Semitism, but the furor has angered many Jewish party members and their supporters.

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