Published: Mon, March 04, 2019

As many as 70 Labour lawmakers oppose second Brexit referendum - lawmaker

As many as 70 Labour lawmakers oppose second Brexit referendum - lawmaker

Earlier, shadow chancellor John McDonnell pointed to different groups which already exist within Labour.

Speaking on Sky, Mr McDonnell said: "Normally we will whip and that will be decided in the normal way by the chief whip and the Shadow Cabinet and the party overall".

"If we can't get that we will have to break the logjam by going back to the people".

McDonnell added he is attempting to bring people together over the issue and seeing what compromises can be reached, saying: "At the end of the day I think we will have to unite on the basis of a very British compromise".

The Labour MP appealed for the party leadership to allow a free vote and also urged colleagues to back an improved Brexit deal given the 2017 election promise to respect the 2016 referendum result.

Tony Blair has said the Independent Group (TIG) of breakaway MPs are "courageous" but he will stay in Labour as he is "deeply attached" to the party.

She added if there was a free vote among Labour MPs then "tens, twenties, thirties would vote for an improved offer".

The opposition Labour Party's finance spokesman, John McDonnell, said the fund was "Brexit bribery".

The manoeuvring follows Mrs May telling MPs the Commons will have a "meaningful vote" on her Brexit plans by March 12.

Asked if supporting a second referendum would make the next election harder, he said: "It may well be but we've got to be honest with people - people have had enough of politicians who say one thing and actually do another".

In an interview with the Sunday Times, one of the lawyers - Michael Tomlinson - said they must see any concession from Brussels "in black and white" and in plenty of time before the PM asks Parliament to vote on her revised deal.

Speaking on the Marr show, Trade Secretary Liam Fox welcomed the proposal as a "genuine attempt to map out common ground", though there is scepticism that the European Union would agree to any of the concessions.

"But, if we have no option, in order to deliver a smooth Brexit, then so be it".

He added: "I just say this - and I think it'll be for MPs right the way across the House in all parties now - that they've got to look to the long-term interests of the country, they've got to protect people's jobs, they've got to protect the economy, otherwise we'll never be forgiven in the future".

Theresa May has received a Brexit boost as the head of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench Tories signalled support for her stance.

Meanwhile, senior Conservative backbencher Sir Graham Brady indicated a breakthrough could be on the cards.

The Sunday Times reported that the tests have been drawn up with Nigel Dodds, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up May's government.

They want to oversee any agreement that the attorney general Geoffrey Cox reaches with Brussels, in which he is attempting to extract from EU leaders an admission that the Irish backstop - the policy that will keep the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland - is temporary in nature.

If the vote was a choice between Remain and backing Prime Minister Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement, Labour voters would split 81 per cent to 19 per cent in favour of remaining.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Sir Graham said: "The whole country is exhausted of vacillation and delay".

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