If the UK government can bring Brexit deal back for a vote before March 12 it will do so: minister – AIWA! NO!
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party will back a new referendum on Brexit after parliament defeated its alternative plan for leaving the European Union, its eurosceptic leader Jeremy Corbyn said, softening his reservations about a second popular vote.
With 29 days left until the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union, the leaders of Britain’s two main parties have been forced into making key turns on the divorce in recent days.
After months of saying that Britain must leave the EU on time on March 29, May opened up the possibility on Tuesday of a short limited extension to the exit date.
- Timeline: Britain’s tortuous journey in and out of the EU
- UK Brexit minister: No consensus in parliament on
Corbyn, who voted against membership in 1975 and gave only reluctant backing to the 2016 campaign to stay, on Wednesday gave ambiguous backing for another referendum, saying he would push for one alongside a national election.
It is the first time since Britons voted in 2016 to leave the EU that one of its two major political parties has thrown its weight behind giving voters a chance to change their minds. It was unclear what the exact question might be.
“After tonight’s votes in parliament, we’ll continue to push for a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election,” Corbyn said.
“We’ll also back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or disastrous no deal.”
John McDonnell, the second most powerful man in the Labour Party, said it would put down an amendment calling for a second referendum as soon as May brought a deal back to parliament.
Britain’s Brexit minister, Steve Barclay, said there was no consensus in parliament for another referendum or even on what question might be asked.
After May’s deal was rejected on Jan. 15 in the biggest parliamentary defeat in modern British history, she is hoping to bring back a tweaked divorce accord for a vote, which could come as early as next week but may not take place until March 12.
If her deal is voted down, May has promised that lawmakers will get a chance to vote the day after on whether to leave with no deal and then on March 14 to vote on asking the EU to delay the deadline.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that the EU would agree to extend the Brexit deadline beyond March 29 only if Britain justified such a request with a clear objective.
Lawmakers on Wednesday voted 502-20 in support of an amendment proposed by opposition Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper that spelled out May’s proposed timetable.