Today Labour will debate Brexit, and the possibility of holding a second referendum. The party has drafted a composite motion that says, if Labour cannot get a general election on Brexit, “all options” remain on the table, including a referendum. It says:
If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote. If the government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.
But some in the party would like Jeremy Corbyn to make a much firmer commitment on this (for example, by promising to fight any election with a manifesto proposing the so-called “people’s vote). It will be interesting to see if activists make this argument during the debate.
Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, will be speaking for the leadership. He has been doing a round of interviews this morning, and he is about to go on the Today programme, but in extracts from his speech released overnight he all but confirms that, if Theresa May bring a Brexit deal back from Brussels, Labour will vote against it on the grounds that it will fail the six tests set by the party. He will say:
I know that people want clarity on where we stand on the deal now.
Because some have said Labour could vote for any deal the Tories reach. Some have said we may abstain. Some have said we may support a vague deal – a ‘blind Brexit’ – that gives no detail about the terms of our future relationship.
So, let me be very clear – right here, right now: If Theresa May brings back a deal that fails our tests – and that looks increasingly likely – Labour will vote against it. No ifs, no buts.
And if the prime minister thinks we’ll wave through a vague deal asking us to jump blindfolded into the unknown she can think again. You can’t meet Labour’s tests by failing to provide answers. We will vote down a blind Brexit.
Let me be clear: this isn’t about frustrating the process. It’s about stopping a destructive Tory Brexit. It’s about fighting for our values. And about fighting for our country.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The conference opens
10.20am: Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, speaks.
12.30pm: Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, speaks.
2.45pm: Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, speaks.
5.10pm: Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, speaks.
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