Campaigners seek motion on second Brexit vote at Labour conference

Jeremy Corbyn who has defended controversial comments he made five years ago regarding a group of British Zionists not understanding "English irony" but said he is more careful with his language now. Picture by Jane Barlow, Press Association
Harriet Line, Press Association

Campaigners calling for a second referendum will seek to challenge Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit policy by attempting to secure a motion on the issue at the Labour Party conference, according to a leaked memo.

People's Vote want MPs and activists to submit a motion calling for a referendum on the final deal the Government reaches with the EU before Britain leaves in March.

At present it is not Labour Party policy to support a second referendum on the deal.

But the leaked memo, seen by the Press Association, states the cross-party group is not trying to undermine Mr Corbyn's leadership of the party over the issue.

It says: "Whatever views people have about the overall direction of the Labour Party, this campaign is not about Jeremy Corbyn and we must not - will not - use it to damage or undermine the party's leadership or attack them personally."

However, the draft contemporary resolution for Labour's conference in September states that the party can give the public a "clear opportunity to participate in critical decisions".

It notes: "Conference believes that if the Government's proposed deal is unsatisfactory then the people should be allowed to express their view in a public vote on Brexit.

"The Labour movement can then unite behind Jeremy Corbyn's determination to fight the Tories on a hard Brexit."

The memo, written by Tom Baldwin, the campaign group's director of communication, praises "real signs of movement" from the Labour frontbench on a second referendum which it says should be "supported and encouraged".

Mr Baldwin told the Press Association: "It's vital that people recognise that this is such a huge issue for our country, for the next generation, for our vital public services, for our jobs, that it's not something that should be used for any other objective.

"Our movement, our campaign, contains people from Momentum and it contains people who've just resigned from Theresa May's Cabinet - it's a broad, broad, broad campaign and people who use Brexit as a stick with which to beat Jeremy Corbyn are not serving our purposes."

He said the memo and resolution aimed to move Labour to a "sensible position which reflects the position of the vast majority of Labour Party members and the vast majority of Labour Party voters".

Those opposing a second referendum say the result of the June 2016 poll must be respected and a new vote would undermine the democratic process.

Barry Gardiner, the shadow trade secretary, last week warned that holding a second vote could lead to civil disobedience.

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