Brexit

Shadow Brexit secretary insists withdrawal can be stopped

Sir Keir Starmer said Britain's withdrawal from the European Union can still be halted. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Sir Keir said "all options must be on the table" – including a second referendum PICTURE: Peter Byrne/PA

LABOUR shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said Britain's withdrawal from the European Union can still be stopped.

Sir Keir said that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, "all options must be on the table" including a second referendum.

His comments appeared at odds with Jeremy Corbyn, who last week said Labour could not stop Brexit and dismissed calls for another referendum.

Sir Keir told Sky News: "Brexit can be stopped. But the real question is what are the decisions we are going to face over the next few weeks and months?

"Decision one is on the deal. Decision two is if the deal goes down should there be a general election and decision three is if there is no general election all options must be on the table including the option of a public vote.

"That is the clear position. Jeremy is signed up to it. I'm signed up to that."

Sir Keir said "everybody has coalesced" around the position set out at the party's conference, but acknowledged there were some "slightly different voices".

He said: "Of course there are slightly different voices in Labour as everywhere, but actually the party position was, we did have those discussions, we did reach that position and that is where we stand."

Over the weekend Jeremy Corbyn was asked whether there should be another referendum on Brexit and replied: "Not really, no", as "the referendum took place".

On BBC Radio 4's Today, Sir Keir said: "Insofar as he says the referendum took place, of course he is right about that. But on this question of options on the table, we had a long, long discussion about it and we did agree all options to remain on the table including the option of a public vote.

"That's obviously in the event that the deal doesn't get through, in the event that there isn't a general election.

"But that is the position because... actually at that stage, difficult decisions are going to have to be made.

"Neither Jeremy nor anyone else has altered that position, that is the position of the Labour Party."

Sir Keir added that Labour's conference position "does not mean there aren't different views, it doesn't mean that people believe more strongly or less strongly in that".

He told Today: "The Labour Party has a healthy discussion. But did we reach an agreement? Yes we did. Are we sticking to it? Yes we are."

Labour will seek to force the government to release its own legal advice on the Irish border backstop today.

Jeremy Corbyn's party will use an arcane procedure known as a "humble address" during an opposition day debate in an attempt to make guidance by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox available to MPs once a Brexit deal is ready to be put before the Commons.

The procedure, which seeks to make a Commons vote binding on the government by presenting a motion asking the Queen to require ministers to comply, was used last year to force the publication of Brexit impact assessments.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "It's simply untenable for the government to put forward any Brexit deal to Parliament without providing the legal advice on what's been agreed.

A source at the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteers said that whether its members would back the opposition motion was "an interesting question under active discussion".

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