THE CLAMOUR from senior Labour figures, including deputy leader Tom Watson, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, for Labour to openly adopt a clearly Remain position and for a second referendum has intensified after the party won just 14% of the vote in EU elections.
Unite union leader Len McCluskey has accused deputy leader Watson of trying to orchestrate an anti-Corbyn coup.
He told the BBC that Watson was trying to turn Labour members against Corbyn.
He said: ‘Tom Watson’s already out, surprise, surprise, trying to take on the role of Prince Machiavelli. But I’ve got news for Tom. Machiavelli was effective. He’s a poor imitation of that.
‘If he’s trying to turn Labour members against Corbyn and in his favour, then he’s going to lose disastrously.
‘And there will be others in the coming days who try and do the same. Now is the time to hold your nerve, because a general election, which is the only thing that will resolve this situation, is closer now than anything.’
Interviewed yesterday morning by SkyTV, Corbyn said: ‘We’ve had a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet after last night’s election result. The country is very divided and the country has to come together.’
Corbyn was asked: ‘Emily Thornberry last night suggested further compromise talks are over and that your party needed to commit firmly for a second referendum and campaign for Remain. Do we have that commitment?’
He replied: ‘What you have from me today is a commitment that our party will listen to its members and supporters and reach out to other parties across the House of Commons to prevent a crashing out of the European Union with no deal.’
He was then asked: ‘John McDonnell this morning tweeted that there needs to be a public vote. Can you clarify what you mean by that – a general election or a referendum?’
Corbyn replied: ‘The priority at the moment is for this government to call for a general election … John has also pointed out, and I support this, that any final deal has to be put to a public vote, and that we are prepared to do.’
Corbyn was then asked: ‘Can I get you today to say that you will be a party to support Remain in a second referendum?’
He replied: ‘What this party does is, it supports an agreement with the European Union to prevent crashing out. It supports putting that proposal, when agreed, to a public vote.’
After the EU election results McDonnell tweeted: ‘Now we face the prospect of a Brexiteer extremist as Tory leader and a Brexit no-deal. We must unite our party and country by taking the issue back to the people in a public vote.’